The Council for British Archaeology (CBA) has responded to the latest consultation from Highways England on the proposals for a road tunnel for the A303 near Stonehenge.
The CBA’s response – agreed by trustees following their recent visit to walk around the Stonehenge landscape – is based on the key principles for assessing the proposed changes that were agreed by CBA members in November 2016. Members agreed that the siting and design of new infrastructure and land-use, (and, where relevant, the removal or alteration of the existing) should ensure:
i. minimum damage to known or potential archaeological remains
ii. minimum visual intrusion on monuments and landscape
iii. maximum benefit to the visitor in terms of enhanced presentation and understanding of the archaeological significance
iv. maximum tranquillity
v. maximum reversibility at the end of use-life
vi. efficient use of previously-developed areas
The CBA supports the principle of a long-bored tunnel as the road solution for the A303 which will deliver the greatest environmental gain, however we have significant concerns about the impact of the tunnel portal locations and the new surface dual carriageways on the archaeological landscape and the Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage Site, particularly at the western end.
We strongly oppose the proposed link between Byway 11 and Byway 12 which would encourage continued use of these byways by motorised vehicles. We could not support any proposal which provides a thoroughfare for motorised vehicles across the centre of the World Heritage Site. All Byways in the World Heritage Site should be Restricted so that they can only be used by walkers, cyclists and horse riders.
We continue to encourage Highways England to continue to work with colleagues from the National Trust, Historic England and English Heritage, and to take on board comments from other key heritage organisations with the aim of ensuring that the benefits of the proposed scheme are maximised.