Stonehenge A303 Road Improvement Scheme
Over the past two years, we have been working closely with English Heritage the National Trust and Highways England, as well as organisations such as ICOMOS (International Council for Monuments and Sites) and UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) to make sure plans for the tunnel protect and enhance the Stonehenge World Heritage Site. The tunnel would remove much of the existing barrier to the Stonehenge Landscape that is caused by the A303 and it would allow visitors to explore the whole of the World Heritage site.
Response to the Preferred Route Announcement for the A303 Amesbury - Berwick Down - the Stonehenge Tunnel
12 September 2017
Historic England, the National Trust and English Heritage welcome today’s announcement of the repositioned route for the proposed A303 dual carriageway and tunnel past Stonehenge. We believe the amended route can, if designed and located with the utmost care, deliver a lasting legacy for the World Heritage Site and restore peace and tranquillity to the Stonehenge landscape.
The three heritage organisations are pleased that Highways England has improved the route of the road as it travels through the World Heritage Site, particularly in relation to the winter solstice alignment.
We remain committed to working with and constructively challenging Highways England to deliver a final design that protects and enhances the World Heritage Site. We will examine the specific details of the tunnel and road design when they become available.
In a joint statement Historic England, the National Trust and English Heritage said:
“The Stonehenge World Heritage Site is internationally-important not just for Stonehenge itself but for the unique and rich concentrations of burial mounds and monuments in the landscape. Brimming with nature, the open chalk grassland is also home to rare and endangered species of wildlife.
“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reunite this ancient landscape which is currently severed by a huge volume of road traffic.
“We welcome the amended route and believe it can, if designed and located with the utmost care, deliver a lasting legacy for the World Heritage Site and restore peace and tranquillity to the Stonehenge landscape.
“The route announced today will ensure the winter solstice alignment will be unspoilt by lights and traffic from the road. We also want to see the globally important archaeology protected, the settings of the ancient burial sites respected and the views between those sites restored. It is now critical to ensure that the benefits of this new route can be realised through careful design and mitigation of archaeological risks, particularly at the western portal of the tunnel and the approach road.
“We remain committed to working with all those with an interest in the World Heritage Site to protect it and help people to better enjoy and explore this iconic place. We believe that this road scheme, including a bored tunnel of at least 2.9km (1.8 miles) can achieve that aim by opening up and re-uniting the historic landscape.”
Video: 1 December 2015
Tens of thousands of vehicles thunder past Stonehenge on the A303 every day. The heavy traffic and constant noise blight the landscape and the current road carves the entire World Heritage Site in two.
Efforts have been made to find a solution for the A303 since 1986 when Stonehenge became a World Heritage Site. It is vital that any tunnel scheme is in the right place and designed to the best specification, to protect the Outstanding Universal Value for which the site has been designated by UNESCO.
Historic England, English Heritage and the National Trust are pleased that there has been such a high level of engagement with Highways England's public consultation into the proposed Stonehenge A303 tunnel scheme - the first of two planned consultations.
Please find Historic England's response to the first phase of public consultation on the route options: