Campaigners Launch Legal Challenge Over Stonehenge Road TunnelBreaking News
tags: historic preservation, archaeology, stonehenge, World Heritage Sites
A legal challenge is being launched to halt government plans for a two-mile tunnel under Stonehenge that will cut through a world heritage site.
Earlier this month the transport secretary, Grant Shapps, approved the £1.7bn project, which will include 8 miles of extended dual carriageway along the A303 in Wiltshire.
Earlier this month the transport secretary overruled a report by five planning inspectors who recommended withholding consent. The road improvements are intended to widen traffic bottlenecks on a major route to south-west England.
Historic England and the National Trust argue that diverting the road underground will enhance the site. Druids, green campaigners and archaeologists have opposed the plans.
Shapps accepted the development will cause harm to the 4,000-year-old Unesco world heritage site but concluded it would not be substantial and would be outweighed by the public benefit.
SSWHS, a new organisation set up by supporters of the Stonehenge Alliance, has begun a fundraising campaign to pay for the legal action. In its letter to Shapps, the organisation said the proposals were in breach of Unesco’s world heritage convention.
Tom Holland, president of the Stonehenge Alliance, said: “I fully back the move to test whether Grant Shapps acted legally in approving this highly wasteful and destructive road scheme. The government has ignored advice from both Unesco and the independent panel who presided over a six-month examination.
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