Stonehenge Road Tunnel Inquiry Begins
The Highways Agency today starts to outline controversial Government plans to reroute roads around Stonehenge.
The proposed scheme aims to remove the busy A303 road from the protected World Heritage Site and instead bore a 2.1km (1.3 mile) tunnel underneath.
Objectors believe the tunnel should be longer to 'conserve and enhance' the iconic Neolithic site on Wiltshire's Salisbury Plain.
Some 200 people packed Salisbury's Guildhall on the first day of the public inquiry into the issue, expected to last until April 30.
Independent Inspector Michael Ellison started by defining the seven orders promoted by the Highways Agency to be discussed as well as going through the list of witnesses to appear and describing the inquiry structure.
At the end of the inquiry he will decide whether or not to recommend these orders to the secretaries of state with or without modifications.
The Highways Agency then started to present its points in favour of the pounds 192 million Government-approved scheme to widen and bury the A303, which is clogged with traffic during the tourist season.
The plans aim to return Salisbury Plains to unspoilt chalk downlands grazed by livestock and are coupled with a new visitor centre outside the historic site. …