Stonehenge A303 Road Improvement Scheme
On 1 December 2014, the Government announced in its Autumn Statement that it would invest in a tunnel of at least 2.9km to remove much of the A303 road from the Stonehenge World Heritage Site. This would be a fully-bored tunnel. Historic England, English Heritage and the National Trust welcomed the announcement as a 'momentous decision'. If implemented it would be the biggest single investment ever made by Government in this country's heritage.
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Over the past three 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.
Planning Inspectorate’s Examination into the Proposed Stonehenge A303 Tunnel Scheme
Over the past six months Historic England has participated in the Planning Inspectorate’s Examination into the proposed scheme to upgrade the A303 between Amesbury and Berwick Down, past Stonehenge.
A Historic England spokesperson said:
“We believe the scheme offers the potential to deliver benefits for the historic environment. By putting much of the current surface road into a tunnel past Stonehenge, it would reunite the landscape currently severed by the A303 road and allow people to further appreciate and explore the World Heritage Site and its internationally important archaeological remains.
If consented, we will continue to advise Highways England on the detailed design and delivery of the scheme to ensure that impacts on the World Heritage Site are minimised and that the potential benefits for the historic environment are delivered.”
The Examination has now closed, but further information, including Historic England’s submissions throughout the Examination, can be found on the Planning Inspectorate’s website:
A decision is expected from the Secretary of State by April 2020.
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.