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27 March 2004
Stonehenge tunnel could have effects at Avebury

Following on from archaeologists' concerns that the proposed 2.1km tunnel under Stonehenge would be inadequate, representatives of the Avebury Society believe the existing scheme also overlooks a significant portion of the World Heritage site.
     Ewart Holmes, representing the group, said: "We note that the A303 scheme, which is part of the Stonehenge project, fails to acknowledge the overriding primary emphasis on conservation, and management of the whole site and its archaeology as a cultural landscape. Mr Holmes said the primary emphasis of the Stonehenge Management Plan included "improving the interpretation and understanding of the whole of the World Heritage site as a cultural landscape to visitors". He said: "This is going to be difficult to achieve if the present scheme is to go ahead, as much of the site is divided by the width of the dual carriageways."
     The society also believes the proposals for the visitor centre should be considered now, along with the road project. Mr Holmes said: "Decisions on planning proposals at Avebury and other World Heritage sites indicate that their fabric, setting, wider landscape and archaeological remains are all worthy of protection. If a better road option cannot be found, we should wait."
     The Avebury Society agreed with archaeologists that a longer tunnel would be a better option. Responding to the Avebury Society's submission, Charles Clavert, a representative of the Highways Agency, said: "Over a period of some 20 years, every conceivable solution appears to have been considered and rejected, apart from some form of tunnel through the World Heritage site.
     Mr Holmes said that, despite the acknowledged difficulties in finding a solution, this scheme should be refused "reluctantly", so that the universal value of the whole of Stonehenge could be protected along with Avebury and associated sites.

Source: Salisbury Journal & Avon Advertiser (26 March 2004)

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