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WANHS Response to the Highways England Consultation on the A303 at Stonehenge

WANHS has today published its response to the Highways England proposals for the A303 Stonehenge: Amesbury to Berwisk Down.

Key pointsStonehenge against a clear blue sky with the Slaughter stone in the foreground

  • We understand that the government has decided that improving the route of the A303 will take place and that to ‘do nothing’ is therefore not an option.
  • We welcome the level of detail presented in this consultation and the open consultation that has taken place.
  • UPDATE: 20 April 2018 We have been informed by Wiltshire Council Archaeology Service that the development of the Scheme has taken into account the latest research from the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes project. The following sentence is therefore incorrect. [We are disappointed that the results of all the latest research in the Stonehenge landscape have not been taken into account in the development of the current scheme, including the leading-edge geophysics research of the Stonehenge Hidden Landscape project.]
  • As we highlighted in our response to the March 2017 consultation, we feel that Southern Route (Option 2 of those proposed in 2017) was the best option to preserve the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the Stonehenge part of the World Heritage Site.
  • We are disappointed that no discussions have taken place on the long-term archaeological storage of archives resulting from excavation and survey.
  • The downgrading of the A303 will significantly reduce the severance of the northern and southern parts of the WHS, but the new cutting will create a new and permanent severance.
  • We welcome the removal of traffic from the vicinity of the stones.
  • We agree that the entire length within the WHS of Byways 11 and 12 should be downgraded for the use of non-motorised use only. There should be no new byway created to link Byways 11 and 12.
  • We would expect a detailed study on local hydrology to  ensure that there is no impact on water-logged deposits alongside the River Avon. There are sensitive peat deposits in the valley of the River Avon as well as nationally significant Mesolithic sites, including Blick Mead.
  • We feel that the current Scheme will have a significant impact on the OUV of the WHS. Our view remains that the tunnel should be extended beyond the boundaries of the WHS and we feel that it is especially important that the western tunnel portal is located outside the WHS.
  • We do not endorse the current Scheme and our response to the consultation is given with the aim of minimising its impact on the WHS.

Read the full WANHS response here and see background information on the A303 page on our website. The Highways England consultation is open until 23.59 on Monday 23 April and responses can be given through the Highways England website.

Our response has been agreed by our Board of Trustees. A draft was prepared by a working group established by the Board and incorporates the results of a consultation with our members. This response reflects a consensus view and the views of individual members may differ.