Designed by Harriet Guinn Jennings

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The Stonehenge World Heritage Site landscape is under threat – and urgent action is needed now to protect it. Left unchallenged, Highways England’s proposed road tunnel inside the boundaries of the World Heritage Site will irreversibly destroy large tracts of land and with it the hidden archaeology it contains – once gone, it will be gone forever.

 

We are a consortium of senior archaeologists and historians who have carried out most of the internationally recognised research within the Stonehenge WHS over the last 30 years. Several of us are members of the A303 Scientific Committee appointed by Highways England to advise it on the archaeological and wider heritage impacts of the tunnel scheme.

Whilst we recognise that the A303 passing Stonehenge is often congested, it is our firm view that the tunnel scheme will cause immeasurable damage to this unique and internationally significant ritual landscape – the secrets of which we are still decoding. This would be a flagrant breach of the UK’s commitments to UNESCO under the World Heritage Convention, and it must be stopped!

The location of both the Eastern and Western portals to the proposed tunnel inside the WHS will be a monstrous intrusion on the landscape, leaving deep scars long after the expiry of the tunnel’s shelf-life:      

  • Construction of the Eastern portal and associated ramps/flyovers risks altering the water table at the recently-discovered Mesolithic site of Blick Mead, endangering preservation of the organic remains which are telling us so much about the lives of the hunter-gatherer groups who visited and occupied this area after the end of the last Ice Age.

  • The road line would cut through the densest concentration in Britain of remains of Neolithic long barrows (burial mounds from c.3800-3300 BC) known in Britain. This is located in an area of less than 4sq km between Stonehenge and the western edge of the WHS. Dating to before Stonehenge, the long barrows’ distribution may have a bearing on why Stonehenge was located where it is.

  • The proposed widening of the A303 from the Western portal to the western boundary of the WHS will similarly cause irreversible damage to hidden and known archaeology, as will the creation of construction access roads and the presence of heavy plant inside the WHS during the anticipated 5 year construction project.

Professor David Jacques for Save Our Stonehenge

Despite massive criticism of this controversial scheme during the public consultation process over the last 2 years, including UNESCO’s damning verdict (see links elsewhere on this site), Highways England have pressed ahead with their preferred scheme regardless. They have applied for a Development Consent Order, and the Planning Inspectorate has commenced a statutory Examination process. To maximise our chances of opposing this scheme, we need to raise funding for expert legal representation during the Examination, which is why we are making this appeal. We understand the critical Preliminary Meeting will be arranged for early April, which means we have about 3 weeks to raise the initial target of £50,000, albeit that target will inevitably have to be stretched as the Examination proceeds.

Professor Mike Parker Pearson on the Stonehenge Tunnel Scheme

Julian Richards on the Stonehenge Tunnel Scheme plan in 2017

We are in the process of setting up a charitable trust, to be known as the Stonehenge Preservation Trust, in order to manage this appeal and legal funding. In the meantime, if you share our concerns and determination to oppose this short-sighted scheme, please use the DONATE buttons to contribute - no donation too small or too large! The key issue now is URGENCY, so if you want to help us to stop the tunnel scheme, please donate now.

The Stonehenge Alliance, that has long campaigned against the road scheme, is a separate organisation. Our campaign concentrates on the archaeological implications of the project, whereas the Stonehenge Alliance opposes the scheme on numerous other critical issues as well. Together we share the same goal – to save the World Heritage Site from Highways England’s damaging scheme.

 

We invite you to explore the rest of this site, in particular the links to other submissions and short videos prepared by our experts in the field (some of whom are likely to be giving expert evidence to the Examination), if you wish to consider the archaeological and heritage arguments in more detail.

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Sir Cecil Chubb

"I have done the right thing in passing for ever from private ownership to the custody of the nation this grand old monument."

 

We are a consortium of experts and archaeologists who have worked in the Stonehenge area including: 

Our Experts

 

Our Lawyers

Due to the complexity and seriousness of the issues involved as well as the National and International interest in Stonehenge and the preservation of the World Heritage Site not only is it important for us to seek expert legal advice but also vital that we choose a barristers’ set recognised for this very specialist area of work.

 

39 Essex Chambers have agreed to represent our cause. They were awarded Real Estate, Environment and Planning Set of the Year in The Legal 500, UK 2018 Awards, for the second successive year. In addition, they are four time winners of the Chambers & Partners Environment / Planning Set of the Year.

 

Peter Village Q.C. (Planning and Environment Silk of the year 2012) and Victoria Hutton (ranked as one of the top junior barristers at the planning bar) kindly put themselves forward and have already provided extensive pro bono advice to us, for which we are immensely grateful.

 

The extent and detail of the future work required from them, as matters progress, is such that ongoing pro bono assistance by them is impractical. As such a fee paying arrangement (but on a discounted basis) will be put in place; hence the funds we need to raise.

Our Charitable Trust

To help us achieve our significant fund raising objectives we have partnered with Crowdfunder Ltd, a UK based organisation with a proven track record of connecting community and environmental projects with both the public at large as well as their own “community” of dedicated supporters. In using their knowledge, people-base and skills we hope to reach a much wider audience than we otherwise might.

The purposes of the trust will be:

  1. To fund legal representation to oppose the Stonehenge tunnel scheme, and to meet any related expenses to other professionals;

  2. To apply any surplus funds raised towards continuing research at Blick mead and/or other archaeological research in the WHS.

 

However, we are also conscious that having charitable status and HMRC recognition, along with having trustees accountable to the Charity Commissioner and to the Courts as regards the use to which donations are put, provides a level of assurance that many might expect before making a donation.  And charitable status also means we will be able to claim “gift aid”.

 

We are, therefore, actively seeking registration as a charity and have asked the Charity Commissioner to expedite our application due to the urgency of the deadlines we will soon face. We shall keep you updated but hope to display our charity registration number shortly.

 
UK UNESCO Ambassador Matthew Lodge, April 2018
 

2019

27/02 - MPs call for clarity over Thames and Stonehenge tunnel schemes - Transport Network 

25/02 - The battle for the future of Stonehenge - Podcast - The Guardian

12/02 A406 North Circular Road 'most congested' in the UK - BBC News

07/02 The battle for the future of Stonehenge - The Guardian

           Highways England goes back to market on Stonehenge and Lower Thames Crossing - Highways Magazine

06/02 Highways England issues heads up for Stonehenge tunnel - The Construction Index

           Spielberg and Mendes Stonehenge war film plans hit by locals objections - The Guardian

31/01 Spinal Tap star Harry Shearer objects to Stonehenge tunnel - BBC News

14/01 MEP hits out at 'hugely damaging' tunnel plan for A303 at ... - Somerset County Gazette

2018

21/12 Stonehenge: High Court overturns ban on byways traffic - BBC News

06/12 Stonehenge tunnel: The background to the row - BBC News

           Stonehenge site 'damaged' by engineers working on tunnel - BBC News

           Road workers building tunnel beneath Stonehenge drill 11.5ft deep hole into.... - Daily Mail

           'Careless' engineers accused of damaging site near Stonehenge - Sky News

           Stonehenge engineers accused of endangering prehistoric 'monster cow' print - CNN

           Road workers drill through 6000-year-old prehistoric platform near Stonehenge - NBC News

05/12 Ancient platform 'damaged' during Stonehenge tunnel work - The Guardian

           Stonehenge row with Highways England as work for new tunnel damages ... - The Telegraph

18/11 Stonehenge Tunnel plans get green light to start official planning process - New Civil Engineer

07/11 Exclusive | Taxpayer to pay for £1.6bn Stonehenge tunnel after PFI axe - New Civil Engineer

14/10 Stonehenge tunnel plans submitted to Planning Inspectorate - BBC News

26/09 National Trust accused of Stonehenge tunnel betrayal - The Times

12/09 Galliford Try boss says firm will not touch Stonehenge tunnel - New Civil Engineer

08/09 Stonehenge A303 parking sparks safety review - BBC News

20/07 £1.6bn Stonehenge road and tunnel project to enter further consultation - Construction Global

06/07 Further consultation launched on proposed changes to A303 Stonehenge update - GOV.UK

06/06 Archaeological impact of A303 Stonehenge tunnel debated - Salisbury Journal

05/06 MPs to debate A303 Stonehenge tunnel plans - ITV News

           Parlimentary Debate Minutes

04/06 Highways England amends Stonehenge tunnel plans - New Civil Engineer

29/05 Stonehenge bypass is 'the best option' - BBC News

03/05 Stonehenge tunnel plan 'severely flawed' say heritage chiefs - Salisbury Journal

30/04 Stonehenge tunnel would spoil the view for drivers, says former National Trust... - The Telegraph

26/04 Stonehenge tunnel plan 'severely flawed' - BBC News

           Stonehenge tunnel would destroy 'sacred landscape' - The Times

23/04 Stonehenge archaeology 'under threat' from Highways England diggers - BBC News

           Highways England hits back at Stonehenge tunnel critics - New Civil Engineer

22/04 Experts unite to condemn plans for road tunnel past Stonehenge - ITV News

           Archaeologists dig heels in over Stonehenge tunnel - Metro 

06/03 Stonehenge tunnel plans shown to heritage experts - BBC News

           UNESCO visits Stonehenge over tunnel plans - Insider Media

12/02 The road from Stonehenge to TrumpHenge - The Guardian

08/02 Latest Stonehenge road tunnel plans are unveiled - BBC News

07/02 Stonehenge tunnel: plans for £1.6bn scheme published - The Guardian

           Stonehenge A303 tunnel plans will 'protect and enhance' monument - BBC News

04/02 Stonehenge tunnel could destroy 'unique library' of early history - The Guardian

           Stonehenge tunnel plans could 'destroy' Ice Age site - BBC News

28/01 A303 Stonehenge tunnel 'de-risking contract to be split off' - New Civil Engineer

2017

14/09 Stonehenge tunnel plan approved: Facts about the ancient monument - The Express

13/09 Now the Stonehenge tunnel has the green light, where are Britain's worst ... - The Telegraph

           Stonehenge road tunnel gets go-ahead despite protests - Jakarta Post

12/09 Could Stonehenge LOSE it's UNESCO status? New road plans could ruin... - The Express

11/09 Stonehenge tunnel route altered to protect winter solstice view - BBC News

           Stonehenge tunnel route moved by 50 metres after protests - The Guardian

09/09 Stonehenge 'could lose World Heritage status' if tunnel gets green light - Sky News

04/09 National Trust faces member rebellion over backing of Stonehenge Tunnel - The Telegraph

21/07 Stonehenge: Private finance deal mooted for £1.4bn tunnel - Construction News

18/07 Stonehenge Tunnel on project 'at risk' list - New Civil Engineer

28/06 Stonehenge bypass 'better than tunnel option' Unesco experts say - BBC News

18/06 Unesco urges design change for Stonehenge tunnel - New Civil Engineer

15/06 Stonehenge tunnel 'should be reconsidered', Unesco says - BBC News

28/04 Is a Proposed Tunnel Under Stonehenge a Threat to Humanity's history? - Observer

27/04 Listen to the experts on the Stonehenge tunnel - The Guardian

25/04 The Stonehenge tunnel: 'A monstrous act of desecration is brewing' - The Guardian

30/03 Stonehenge tunnel plan 'modern scar on ancient landscape' - BBC News

06/03 Stonehenge tunnel: Unesco advisors object to idea - BBC News

01/03 Stonehenge tunnel 'will have dreadful consequences' - BBC News

28/02 Tunnel lights will ruin sunset at Stonehenge, say archaeologists - The Times

07/02 Stonehenge tunnel: heritage groups warn over ancient barrow - The Guardian

           Stonehenge tunnel plan given backing by English Heritage and National...- The Telegraph

06/02 Tony Robinson: Stonehenge tunnel plans put site at risk - BBC News

24/01 The A303 is part of the Stonehenge setting, don't bury it - The Independant

20/01 Historians dismayed by Stonehenge tunnel - The Times

18/01 The Stonehenge tunnel is monumental folly - Spectator

           UK Government Approves Plans To Build A Tunnel Under Stonehenge... - Huffington Post

14/01 What is the Stonehenge Tunnel, when will it be built, where does the ... - The Sun

12/01 Stonehenge tunnel plan finalised by government - BBC News

           Stonehenge: Green light for controversial tunnel plan - CNN

 

 

2016

10/10 Stonehenge solstice sunset view 'will be ruined by tunnel' - BBC News

06/10 Dog's tooth leads to discovery of earliest known journey in UK history - The Guardian

03/05 Stonehenge would benefit from 'putting A303 into a tunnel' - The Guardian

19/01 Stonehenge tunnel: Salisbury bypass considered as alternative - BBC News

2015

21/12 Stonehenge tunnel survey reveals new sites, and mysteries - The Guardian

03/12 Stonehenge without traffic - ITV News

29/10 Archaeologists discover Mesolithic eco home near Stonehenge - The Guardian

28/10 Tunnel could destroy oldest settlement ever found near Stonehenge, archaeologists fear - Salisbury Journal

           Unesco experts assess Stonehenge A303 tunnel plan - BBC News

05/08 Stonehenge longer tunnel call gains support - BBC News

20/07 Minister agrees to meet town council to discuss Stonehenge Tunnel plans - Salisbury Journal

11/06 Cameron confirms tunnel plans - Salisbury Journal

18/04 Stonehenge Alliance uses World Heritage Day to protest against planned tunnel - Salisbury Journal

17/03 Dan Snow attacks Stonehenge road and tunnel plans - The Guardian

Blog Posts

26/11 National Trust’s Double Standards - The Heritage Journal

06/11 Stonehenge Tunnel Tangles - The Heritage Journal

03/11 Stonehenge: Is “taken into consideration” newspeak for “will be damaged?” - The Heritage Journal

26/10 UNESCO and ICOMOS at Stonehenge this week - The Heritage Journal

29/09 Stonehenge tunnel: point proved in Parliament? - The Heritage Journal

28/09 Stonehenge tunnel: three incisive questions in Parliament! - The Heritage Journal

22/03 US treasure hunters urged to support Stonehenge short tunnel! - The Heritage Journal

17/03 Historians line up to protect Stonehenge - Campaign for better Transport

16/03 National Trust to allow members a say about the short tunnel! - The Heritage Journal

09/03 Stonehenge: still time for the National Trust to reconsider - The Heritage Journal

17/02 Stonehenge: an American solution? - The Heritage Journal

05/02 Stonehenge: can we have our National Trust back please? - The Heritage Journal

21/01 Catteries and urinals good, Stonehenge World Heritage Site better - The Heritage Journal

2014 

22/12 Is this the home of Stonehenge's forefathers? 6,000-year-old settlement at Blick Mead 'could rewrite British history' - Daily Mail

20/12 Building a tunnel under Stonehenge could 'wreck chances of unlocking of ancient site... - Daily Mail

13/12 Stonehenge World Heritage Site at risk from A303 tunnel plans - The Ecologist

02/12 David Cameron visits Stonehenge after tunnel plans announced - video - The Guardian

01/12 Stonehenge road tunnel plan: some say victory, others say disaster - The Guardian

           Tunnel to be built past Stonehenge - BBC News

29/11 Stonehenge fears over A303 road tunnel plan - BBC News

28/11 New direction for the A303? - ITV News

21/11 Spend A303 cash on vital services - Andover Advertiser

18/11 George Osborne visits Somerset ahead of Autumn Statement - thisisthewestcountry.co.uk

06/11 Government poised to approve A303 tunnel plan for Stonehenge - Salisbury Journal

04/11 Danny Alexander hints A303 upgrade is on the cards - ITV News

23/10 Stonehenge tunnel plan being reconsidered - New Civil Engineer

19/10 Stonehenge tunnel considered by Government again - BBC News

18/10 Stonehenge traffic jams to be consigned to history as Government dusts off plans for a tunnel to by-pass the neolithic site - Daily Mail

17/10 Stonehenge traffic jams set to become thing of the past - Financial Times

15/10 Short tunnel will damage landmark - Salisbury Journal

12/09 What Stonehenge needs is a tidy up - The Guardian

10/09 Stonehenge site much larger than previously thought - The Guardian

28/04 Spare Stonehenge from this tunnel vision - The Telegraph

23/04 Stonehenge tunnel plans could be revived - The Telegraph

Blog Posts

10/11 Stonehenge activists appeal to National Trust members - Campaign for better Transport 

24/10 Architects welcome return of Stonehenge tunnel plans - Architects Journal

13/10 The Stonehenge landscape: a cultural icon or an economic inconvenience? - Campaign for better Transport

           Has Nick Clegg become the latest supporter of a “short tunnel” at Stonehenge? - The Heritage Journal

TEDx talk on the community benefits of archaelogy in the stonehenge landscape, June 2018

Sky News, 8th February 2018

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Times article, 21st January 2017

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Professor David Jacques on Sky News, 7th February 2019

In the news

Problems with the Stonehenge Tunnel by Sean Malik Williams

"we must all look to what we can do to play our part...The United Kingdom looks forward to being part of that journey and supporting UNESCO’s efforts."