British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps decided to continue with the A303 Stonehenge road widening plan, which will be challenged in the High Court today.
The action was led by Save Stonehenge WHS Ltd. The company was jointly established by related parties to protect the surrounding environment of the famous stone. The company received support from as many as 3,000 donors and covered legal costs.
For those who cherish the iconic symbol of our common global heritage and cherish knowledge, the situation is deeply frustrating may It can also be obtained from the extraordinary landscape of the monuments and ruins where it is located.
Many people believe that the British government’s contempt for this legacy has been exposed, and it has flagrantly ignored the bad economic returns of the plan.
In addition, encourage the increase in traffic volume and carbon emissions from manufacturing. multitudinous Faced with Britain’s legal promise to tackle climate collapse, concrete flies.
The road plan involves about 2 kilometers of dual carriageway, deep excavation leading to dual-hole tunnels, all located within the World Heritage Site, with a large highway interchange on the border.
The famous stone landscape that millions of tourists admire on the road will disappear every year.
After a six-month detailed review of the project, a team of five senior planning inspectors recommended that the application be rejected.
It warns “Through large-scale excavation and civil engineering, damage to the overall assembly of monuments, ruins and landscapes has never been seen before Stonehenge.”
It found “IIrreversible damage will occur, affecting… The World Heritage Site is included in the World Heritage List.” In the view of the panel members, “the aesthetic and spiritual damage will be profound and irreversible. “
Leading experts in Stonehenge archaeology also condemned the plan, This will destroy about 10 hectares of World Heritage Site.
Prehistoric Professor Mike Parker Pearson calculated that about 500,000 flint artifacts would be lost in the cultivated soil that was machined for road cutting Because the English highway cannot afford the time and cost of allowing 100% screening.
This loss is immeasurable, because almost the only remaining evidence shows Neolithic and Early Bronze Age Settlements and family activities in the landscape are located in soil that has been disturbed by farming.
In addition, the topsoil will be used for landscaping after the project is constructed, leaving diagnostic and chronological evidence for broadcast and out of context.
The £2 billion road plan is economically meaningless. An inheritance contingent valuation survey showed that the cost-benefit ratio was 1.15 pounds per 1 pound. This is extremely low.
The report was severely criticized.only one Few survey participants. They did not get enough information. Some people do not know that the proposed plan will cause serious heritage damage.
The government’s own public accounts committee pointed out that any benefit of the Stonehenge project depends on the completion of all eight planned improvements to the highway corridor to the southwest. But currently only three-including Stonehenge-have been funded.
Planners and archaeologists are not the only critics. The UNESCO World Heritage Committee has repeatedly recommended less destructive alternatives, and recently suggested that the plan should not be advanced in its current form.
Now that the project is approved, we may wonder whether WHS will lose its World Heritage status-bringing further international condemnation. A petition asking the British government to reconsider the plan has more than 200,000 signatories from 147 countries around the world.
What about the climate emergency? The largest share of greenhouse gas emissions comes from the transportation sector.
Why is any responsible government capable of introducing alternative energy and transportation methods now actively seeking to promote the use of automobile transportation, thereby reducing changes in work and travel habits?
For many years, people have believed that building new roads will lead to more traffic. This can be done by widening Stonehenge’s roads, while at the same time shifting the current intermittent traffic congestion to further roads, making any claimed travel time savings nonsense. How long can this situation last?
How can this retrograde plan be considered acceptable? Unfortunately, so far, the plan seems to be supported by the British heritage agency.
These institutions are the government’s own Ministry of Digital, Culture, Media and Sports; Historic England, sponsored by DDCMS, responsible for advising the government on the estate; British Heritage, a charitable trust whose sole legal member is Historic England, and manages including Stonehenge Within the National Heritage Collection; and the National Trust, an independent charity, the tunnel will run on the land of Stonehenge.
The Wiltshire Council also endorsed the plan, trying to reassure local concerns about traffic congestion and achieve unreliable economic development ambitions.
These views have also been obtained a lot of Conservative members of Congress and members of the Southwest who naturally want to keep their seats. Therefore, some people will benefit from the project; others follow the government line. Combined, they are a powerful hall.
The British government should seek to destroy so many things at such a small price. This is either due to ignorance of the real facts or lack of interest or worry. This is a bad reflection for the British government.
About a century ago, Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin launched a nationwide call to save the improper development of the area around Stonehenge.
The purchased land has been handed over to the National Trust for permanent custody: non-transferable land, if the road plan continues, many lands must now be compulsorily acquired through an agreement with the trust.
Without the authorization of the National Trust, the permanent desecration of the Stonehenge landscape described eloquently by the official reviewers of the plan would not have occurred.
Who will save the Stonehenge landscape now? It seems not yet, the Prime Minister, the government or the National Trust.
Instead, it fell on a small group of citizens who were caring enough, determined, and supported by thousands of people around the world, who were shocked by the prospects of this unique and special place.
Given the current understanding of the plan, can the government and the National Trust be persuaded to reconsider the road plan at the last minute? Can they still act on the common sense of the present and future generations?
Dr. Kate Fielden is an archaeologist and environmental activist, and the honorary secretary of the Stonehenge Alliance. For more than 20 years, she has been involved in discussions about the management of Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Sites, and has participated in many public surveys on planning and road recommendations.