01 December 2015

Stonehenge and the A303

In our role as guardian of Stonehenge, English Heritage welcomes the Government’s plans to invest in a fully bored tunnel of at least 2.9km to remove a large part of the existing A303 from the Stonehenge World Heritage Site.

The Stonehenge World Heritage Site is famous throughout the world and is one of the most important prehistoric landscapes in Europe.

Today this landscape is split in two by a major road – the A303 – which acts as a barrier to people enjoying, exploring and understanding the World Heritage Site.

English Heritage wants to see the monument reconnected to its ancient landscape and the negative impact of roads within the World Heritage Site reduced. Great strides to achieve this vision have been made in recent years, including the removal of the old Stonehenge visitor facilities and the A344 road from the landscape.

But there is more to be done.

The problem

Tens of thousands of vehicles thunder past Stonehenge on the A303 every day. The heavy traffic and constant noise from the road compromises our enjoyment and understanding of the monument and the road cuts the stones off from much of the surrounding ancient landscape and many prehistoric monuments.

Traffic on the A303 at Stonehenge.

Traffic on the A303 at Stonehenge.

The solution

On 1 December 2014, the Government announced that it would invest in a fully bored tunnel of at least 2.9km to remove much of the A303 trunk road from the Stonehenge World Heritage Site. English Heritage, Historic England and the National Trust all welcomed the announcement, describing it as a “momentous decision”.

How the Stonehenge landscape looks now and how it could look without the A303

How the Stonehenge landscape looks now and how it could look without the A303

Working together

It is vital that any tunnel scheme is in the right place and designed to the best specification. English Heritage along with Historic England and the National Trust will work with the Government, Highways England and other key parties, to find a solution that protects the Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage Site and addresses the adverse impacts the existing A303 has on this extraordinary place.

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