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Stonehenge - High Court result

(27 Posts)
Dinahmo Mon 02-Aug-21 18:00:30

This is very good news about the possible tunnel close to Stonehenge.

"We were delighted to hear today that Save Stonehenge WHS’s legal challenge was successful and the Development Consent Order for the A303 Stonehenge scheme has been quashed.

"The judge found that the Transport Secretary did not have all of the evidence needed lawfully to carry out the ‘heritage’ balancing exercise required by planning policy; and that he had unlawfully left out of account consideration of a less damaging alternative to the scheme, such as a longer tunnel."

It's especially good news because Stonehenge is one of the sites that UNESCO is thinking of de-listing

Ellianne Mon 02-Aug-21 18:03:45

Disagree. It will go ahead eventually.

Katie59 Mon 02-Aug-21 18:08:33

I think protesters want a longer tunnel, wether that will be done, they could move the road a mile or two away from Stonehenge and no tunnel. It’s hard to justify a tunnel say 3 times a long costing £4-5bn.

Ellianne Mon 02-Aug-21 18:09:46

In the meantime all the traffic pollution is detrimentally affecting the Stonehenge area.

Visgir1 Mon 02-Aug-21 18:11:53

Needs to happen. If it is done as well as the Hindhead Tunnel and I'm sure it will be, it will go ahead.

varian Mon 02-Aug-21 19:01:02

Something needsto be dom

varian Mon 02-Aug-21 19:01:23

Something needs to be done. N

varian Mon 02-Aug-21 19:02:37

Why not a detour to the north or south of the existing route which would not require a tunnel?

Ellianne Mon 02-Aug-21 19:27:57

You could dual the existing road, the A303, and put in a flyover instead of the current roundabout. Trouble is, soon as you dual part of the road it just pushes the jams further down (or up)! Sometimes you can be stuck in traffic there for nearly an hour, especially at this time of year. The tunnel is the best option environmentally, and in terms of longevity and cost. I know it is sad, but it is essential.

Ellianne Mon 02-Aug-21 19:29:00

If anyone wants a detour route, send me a pm and I will give you the details.

M0nica Mon 02-Aug-21 20:15:39

I am all for dualling the A303, It is a very odd road keeps going from dual to single carriage and back to dual. A few bypasses round villages, gradually completely dual carriageway the road. Cheaper and less archaeologically damaging than anything else that has been suggested.

It means we will keep the wonderful views of Stonehenge from that road. Views that travellers have enjoyed for hundreds, if not a thousand or more years.

This view, and all who have experienced it are as much part of the history of Stonehenge as the construction of the stones themselves. It should continue for generations more to see.

There are many ways of experiencing Stonehenge and they do not need to be the full visit site, see museum and interpretation centre do the walk, use the cafe and shop.

I love the way the Stonehenge rises into view as you drive along the A303 and then shifts and changes as you drive pass. If that goes, I for one, will have a deep sense of loss.

GrannyGravy13 Mon 02-Aug-21 20:17:13

Visgir1

Needs to happen. If it is done as well as the Hindhead Tunnel and I'm sure it will be, it will go ahead.

Totally agree, whilst the construction of the Hindhead Tunnel was a pain in the bum it has been a huge success.

Dinahmo Mon 02-Aug-21 20:39:35

One of the reasons for not allowing this tunnel is the destruction of artefacts etc that are under the ground.

GrannyGravy13 Mon 02-Aug-21 21:19:36

Dinahmo

One of the reasons for not allowing this tunnel is the destruction of artefacts etc that are under the ground.

That puts a different perspective on the tunnel.

JenniferEccles Mon 02-Aug-21 22:39:57

The traffic holdups going past Stonehenge have been a big problem for many decades to my knowledge.
Like many thousands of other frustrated motorists we have encountered holdups virtually every time we are on the 303 en route to Devon or Cornwall.
It must be a nightmare for local folk trying to go about their business, and although there are a couple of alternative routes, we have not been the only ones to think of that, leading to a stream of traffic on those too.

Likewise the arguments about how to solve the problem have rumbled on and on yet nothing ever gets done.

Surely a tunnel would be the most costly option wouldn’t it ?
If by some miracle it was granted permission to go ahead, we all know that the cost would spiral out of control from the original figure.

I would have thought a dual carriageway would be the most cost effective solution.

I very much doubt though that anything will be done in my lifetime!

Oh and yes, the Hindhead tunnel was a massive improvement.
We were so excited when it opened!

maddyone Mon 02-Aug-21 23:02:48

I think it needs to happen too.

Callistemon Mon 02-Aug-21 23:11:21

Dinahmo

One of the reasons for not allowing this tunnel is the destruction of artefacts etc that are under the ground.

That would be vandalism!

I agree that something should be done about the A303, we used to have to travel on it many years ago and I'm amazed that it hasn't been upgraded properly in all that time.

M0nica Tue 03-Aug-21 06:55:11

There would be full and complete archaeological investigations before any work was done, and how damaging it would be to the archaeology would depend on the tunnelling method use. A bored tunnel would go deep into the natural geology and only affect the surface at the ends and where any ventilation shafts would be. A tunnel that is cut and cover would be damaging.

On the other hand archaeological work done on linear features like pipelines and roads, reveals a random sample of sites, from every period, large and small that can lead to complete reassessments of what is known about periods of the deep past in an area. A huge campaign of archaeological excavation accompanied the recent major road project on the junction between the M1 and A14 has added immensely to our knowledge of the Roman period in that area.

Ellianne Tue 03-Aug-21 08:36:05

I agree that something should be done about the A303, we used to have to travel on it many years ago and I'm amazed that it hasn't been upgraded properly in all that time.
You're too right there Callistemon. We used it only last week to collect our new puppy and although we travelled very early in the day we were still stuck in Stonehenge traffic for an extra 45 minutes, and that was knowing the back roads well. Luckily it wasn't one of those boiling hot days!
The Stonehenge tunnel project has been on the go since 1990. Decisions aren't made overnight and the whole process is painstakingly detailed. As Monica says the geology in itself is very complex and the engineering will be of the highest quality. There are heaps of reports on the design and construction if anyone is interested.
Our son is an engineer on the project and says the job is part of a broader programme of nine projects designed to transform the A303 route into an expressway to reduce congestion in the South-west.
The "hold ups" aren't just on the road. Hold ups appear regularly throughout every process of planning, design and costing. Road rage isn't exclusively a drivers' phenomenon! It comes from conservationists and environmentalists too.
The engineering companies know it will eventually happen and they just patiently sit it out until they can get on with the job.

henetha Tue 03-Aug-21 10:05:30

I drove (at snails pace) past Stonehenge on Sunday afternoon and the traffic queue was appalling. I'm not sure about a tunnel though.
Maybe improving the road would be better.

Dinahmo Tue 03-Aug-21 16:44:28

An excerpt from the ruling

On Friday Mr Justice Holgate ruled that Grant Shapps, the Conservative transport secretary, acted irrationally and unlawfully when he approved the project.

The court found that Shapps did not properly consider alternative schemes, as the law requires him to do, and that the decision-making process included no evidence of the impact on each individual asset at the world-famous historic site.

and more

On Friday, Holgate said there was a “material error of law” in the decision-making process because there was no evidence of the impact on each individual asset at the historic site. And he said Shapps’s failure to consider alternative schemes breached the world heritage convention and common law.

“In this case the relative merits of the alternative tunnel options compared to the western cutting and portals were an obviously material consideration which the (transport secretary) was required to assess.

“It was irrational not to do so. This was not merely a relevant consideration which the (transport secretary) could choose whether or not to take into account.

“I reach this conclusion for a number of reasons, the cumulative effect of which I judge to be overwhelming.”

A panel of expert inspectors recommended that development consent be withheld because the project would substantially and permanently harm the integrity and authenticity of the site, which includes the stone circle and the wider archaeology-rich landscape.

In a report to Shapps, the officials said permanent, irreversible harm, critical to the outstanding universal value of the site, or why it is internationally important, would occur, “affecting not only our own, but future generations”.

M0nica Wed 04-Aug-21 08:09:24

I love the long slow crawl past Stonehenge, it enables me to look and admire this magnificent - and despite all the research that has taken place, still enigmatic monument.

lemongrove Wed 04-Aug-21 09:22:26

I enjoy seeing it too ( driving past) and will be doing it tomorrow in fact, but the long slow crawl now and again is fine, not so fine for those who have to do it on a regular basis.
I see the argument about the tunnel is that it should be a much longer one, to be less harmful to the site.That’s interesting Elliane ( your post on it).
My preferred option would not have a tunnel at all, but would be road based, however I know nothing on that subject.

Ellianne Wed 04-Aug-21 09:58:28

lemongrove

I enjoy seeing it too ( driving past) and will be doing it tomorrow in fact, but the long slow crawl now and again is fine, not so fine for those who have to do it on a regular basis.
I see the argument about the tunnel is that it should be a much longer one, to be less harmful to the site.That’s interesting Elliane ( your post on it).
My preferred option would not have a tunnel at all, but would be road based, however I know nothing on that subject.

Shame you're not doing it today lemongrove. Perfect conditions, sun is popping in and out, not too hot.

Just to say the tunnel excavations will not harm the actual stones in any way, but constant traffic pollution from the excessive volume on the A303 is already eating away at them.
The southwest has been promised better transport links for ages for businesses to survive and prosper. I don't want to discuss the politics, but the project was to be privately financed and when that all fell through and the government stepped in.
Safe journey* lemongrove*.

lemongrove Wed 04-Aug-21 11:04:16

Thanks Elliane 😃 as long as I remember to ‘go’ before we set off!😬