Appendix: The Tunnel

Article excerpt

Finding a solution to the problems of Stonehenge is a priority for the Government, English Heritage and the National Trust. The number of conflicting interests impacting upon the World Heritage Site have made the decisions and negotiations very difficult and compromises have been necessary. In the area of cultural heritage the most difficult compromise negotiated by the principal partners was the 125-million [pounds sterling] scheme which will put the A303 in a cut-and-cover tunnel 2 km long under the Stonehenge Bowl, out of sight and sound of Stonehenge.

Roads and road traffic have long had serious impact on the World Heritage Site. In particular, the A303 trunk road and A344 county road are highly visible routes that cut through the heart of the World Heritage Site landscape and adversely impact on the character of the immediate setting and public enjoyment of the Stones themselves. The strategy put forward in the Management Plan to achieve objective 23 (reduction of traffic movements and congestion within the World Heritage Site, improve safety and enhance the historic environment) includes:

Placing the A303 (T) in a tunnel, closure of the A344 and related restoration schemes within the Stonehenge 'Bowl', including the removal of the A344 in the longer term. Although tunnelling may inevitably have some detrimental effect on existing archaeology along the route corridor of the A303 (T), this should be balanced against the major benefits for the World Heritage Site which would result (para 4.6.4)

These benefits include the reunification of the landscape in the Stonehenge Bowl which together with the related and dependant closure of the A344 will give the public freedom to roam within the prehistoric landscape; the reduction of the impact of the visual, noise and air pollution around the Stones and the provision of safer public access to the Stones and their immediate environs. …