Heritage organisation attacks Stonehenge Tunnel proposal

10 May 2018

Great Britain – The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) has sent a letter to the UK’s Highways Agency objecting to the proposed Stonehenge Tunnel. The condemnation comes after the Highways Agency wrapped up its formal consultation for the 2.9km tunnel near the famous monument.

“ICOMOS wishes to register a strong objection to these proposals in view of the substantial 
negative and irreversible impact we believe that the dual carriageways at both ends of the tunnel would have on the attributes of ‘Outstanding Universal Value’ (OUV) of the World Heritage Site (WHS) of Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites.

“We consider that to suggest that this negative impact on OUV of the dual carriageways can be mitigated by benefits brought by the tunnel to the centre of the WHS, is to fundamentally misunderstand the Government commitments to sustain the OUV of the WHS, including its integrity and authenticity, made by the UK State Party to the World Heritage Convention at the time of inscription of the property on the World Heritage List.

“In our view, the overall preferred route project is severely flawed and its impacts cannot be readily mitigated; it is essential that the whole project be re-assessed and a wider range of routes and construction options explored before a public consultation by the Government is recommended.”

The A303 road is one of the most heavily congested in Britain for its size. The solution of an underground road of increased width would go a long way towards alleviating traffic. A tunnel has been mooted on several previous occasions, but the plan has never been taken forward.