UK Court Rules Against Planned Stonehenge Tunnel

Good news for preservationists

Good news for preservationists.
Brooke Bell/Unsplash

For thousands of years, Stonehenge has stood as a striking example of human engineering and a hint as to the early history of what would become the United Kingdom. Much more recently, preservationists have been alarmed about a planned tunnel set to run for two miles near the historical site. They weren’t the only ones — UNESCO recently issued a warning that it would consider removing its World Heritage Site designation from historically significant sites if more wasn’t done to protect them.

This week brings with it good news for those who would prefer not to have infrastructure projects built near millennia-old structures. The Art Newspaper‘s Gareth Harris reports that the U.K.’s High Court recently ruled against the planned tunnel, which would have involved substantial changes to the A303 trunk road.

In a statement, the Save Stonehenge World Heritage Site summarized the judicial ruling, noting that “[t]he judge found that the Secretary of State unlawfully failed to consider less damaging ways of relieving the existing A303.”

“The Stonehenge Alliance has campaigned from the start for a longer tunnel if a tunnel should be considered necessary,” said John Adams, the Acting Chairman of the Stonehenge Alliance. “Ideally, such a tunnel would begin and end outside the WHS.” Adams also called upon the government to revisit its planned changes to the road with climate change in mind.

Whether the next step involves a longer tunnel or no tunnel at all remains in question. But for now, the status of Stonehenge is that much more secure.

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