British Queen celebrates


Campaigners against the construction of a road tunnel near Stonehenge are bringing their petition to UNESCO. Leading members of The Stonehenge Alliance (TSA) and Save

Stonehenge World Heritage Site (SSWHS) will present the petition in Paris.

UNESCO had previously called for a delay in the decision and requested amendments to the tunnel project. Activists and UNESCO have expressed concerns that the World Heritage status of the site could be revoked if the current plan proceeds.

The petition, signed by 225,000 people from 147 countries, urges the UK government to stop the "harmful" road scheme. Planning permission was initially granted in 2020 but was later overturned in 2021 after a successful High Court campaign.

However, on July 14, 2023, the Department for Transport approved the £1.7 billion, two-mile (3.2 km) tunnel project from Amesbury to Berwick Down in Wiltshire.

David Bullock, National Highways project manager for the A303 Stonehenge scheme, expressed confidence in the project, highlighting its benefits in addressing traffic congestion, improving travel, supporting local communities, and boosting the regional economy. He emphasized the scheme's objective to preserve and enhance the Stonehenge landscape through collaborative efforts with heritage groups, scientific committees, and archaeology contractors.

Chris Todd, director of Transport Action Network (TAN) and a member of the Stonehenge Alliance and SSWHS, emphasized the potential international embarrassment for the UK if the site were to lose its World Heritage Status (WHS). He noted that only three WHS have been delisted since the signing of the World Heritage Convention in 1972, with Liverpool being the most recent in 2021.

John Adams, chair of the Stonehenge Alliance and another director of SSWHS, called on UNESCO to recognize the strong global support for their opposition to the road scheme, urging the organization to stand firm against the UK government's indifference to preserving this iconic British heritage site.

In August, SSWHS filed another claim with the High Court challenging the government's decision. Photo by Michal Osmenda from Brussels, Belgium, Wikimedia commons.