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STONE HENGE published scheme cancelled

Stone Henge Statement

A303 Stonehenge Improvement Scheme

Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Tom Harris): Making best use of taxpayers' money is essential in the allocation of funding to transport schemes. With that in mind the Government announced in 2005 that it planned to commission a review of options for the A303 Stonehenge improvement after a substantial increase in the estimated cost of the proposed 2.1km bored tunnel scheme. The approved budget for the scheme when it was taken to Public Inquiry in 2004 was 223m. The latest reported cost estimate is 540m which reflects a number of factors including unexpectedly poor ground conditions, more stringent requirements for tunnelling work and rapid inflation in construction costs.

The review identified a shortlist of possible options, including routes to the north and south of Stonehenge. After careful consideration we have now concluded that due to significant environmental constraints across the whole of the World Heritage Site, there are no acceptable alternatives to the 2.1km bored tunnel scheme. However, when set against our wider objectives and priorities, we have concluded that allocating more than 500m for the implementation of this scheme cannot be justified and would not represent best use of taxpayers' money. I am today placing the final report of the Review on the department's website.

I am therefore today withdrawing all the draft Orders which were considered at the Public Inquiry and I have instructed the Highways Agency to withdraw route protection for the complete scheme including the proposed bypass of Winterbourne Stoke.

The Government recognises the importance of the A303 Stonehenge Improvement scheme and that today's announcement will come as a considerable disappointment for the scheme's supporters. The Highways Agency will investigate possible small scale improvements to the A303 as part of their overall stewardship of route. The department also plans to discuss with the South West region the implications of this decision for the wider strategy for improving the A303/A358 corridor to the M5 at Taunton.

In addition, the department will work with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and English Heritage on their plans to take forward in consultation with other stakeholders a review of the World Heritage Site Management Plan and to consider alternative options for the development of new visitor facilities at Stonehenge in the light of our decision on the A303 improvement. This further work will include examination of the case for closing the junction of the A344 with the A303 as part of the investigation of options for improving the setting of Stonehenge, taking into account the wider heritage and environmental needs, to which the Government remains committed, for this iconic World Heritage site. The decision will be subject to a detailed assessment and public consultation, but we recognise the importance of this issue to the sustainability of the World Heritage Site.

The Government remains committed to working with stakeholders in investigating options for improving the environment of Stonehenge, including new visitor facilities, and exploring possible small scale measures to improve traffic flows and safety along this section of the A303.

Delivered: 06 December 2007

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The Recommendation of the Hungarian National Committee of ICOMOS

The Recommendation of the Hungarian National Committee of ICOMOS

Regarding the Development Proposal for Hajógyári Island in Óbuda (Budapest, Hungary)

In reference to the statement released by our organization on August 31, 2006, and regarding the fact that we consider the result of the public referendum unacceptable from a professional standpoint, we make the following recommendations for the protection of the area of ancient ruins of European significance and for their excavation and presentation in a manner befitting their significance:

The Roman era heritage on Hajógyári Island in Óbuda (this site is also considered to be an industrial heritage site of a former historic ship factory) is associated with the European section of the Roman Limes, which (as a portion of an international proposal) is included on Hungary’s tentative list for the UNESCO World Heritage. Therefore development on the island can only be approved if it is of a size and scope that does not endanger the scientific understanding, preservation and presentation of the entirety of this world renowned antique building ensemble (portions that are known and that are yet to be excavated).

ICOMOS requests that, in the interest of preserving the Hajógyári Island portion of the prospective European Limes World Heritage site, the decision makers review their verdict, retract their consent, and instead of putting the District Regulatory Plan into effect, they allow the provisions of the Hungarian Construction Law (design control regulations for conforming with the surroundings) to remain in force. This does not preclude new construction, but requires it to conform to the existing setting, of which Roman ruins may also be considered a part.

The goal of our statement is that the planned development should be conducted in such a way that unique historic assets are not destroyed due to the lack of scientific knowledge based on research results, and that the new construction projects should proceed in a manner that elevates Budapest’s status and significance in European culture by linking the capital’s ancient past with its present.

September 21, 2006

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NEWS Stonehenge

Press Release Stone Henge 30 March 2006

For immediate release
30th March 2006
Highways Agency A303 Stonehenge Improvement Scheme Review Consultation
Collective Response from Conservation Organisations
On 17th March 2006, leading independent conservation organisations met to agree a common view of the current Highways Agency A303 Stonehenge Improvement Scheme Review consultation.
These organisations together represent a large heritage and environmental constituency, and reflect local, national and international views, with a diverse range of professional and public opinions.
Emerging from this meeting was a strong consensus on the issues underlying the A303 consultation, on a vision for the Stonehenge World Heritage site, on strategies for the way forward to achieve this vision, and on the potential for huge public value that an unencumbered World Heritage site could deliver.
Vision for the Stonehenge World Heritage site:
‘To regain the tranquillity and dignity of this unique cultural landscape, allowing present and future generations fully to enjoy and appreciate the World Heritage site as a whole.’
All of the conservation organisations agreed collectively:
o On the shared vision for Stonehenge, as set out above
o To encourage delivery of this vision through strategies that take the long-term view for Stonehenge
- All support strongly an approach at Stonehenge that recognises and respects the World Heritage site as a cultural landscape and believe that it should be put forward for re-inscription as such in order to provide appropriate protection
- All challenge the Inspector’s reasoning and recommendation in the A303 Public Inquiry Report, and consider that there could be grounds for judicial review should the preferred scheme be approved for implementation
- All oppose the current options in the Highways Agency Scheme Review as lacking a long-term vision that respects the international significance of Stonehenge as a World Heritage site
- All call on the Highways Agency to explore different options, which would be acceptable in terms of impact on the World Heritage landscape. These options should include above ground, or mainly above ground, routes, within northern and southern corridors, together with tunnel options that avoid impacting on the World Heritage site
- All believe that the government should, in the short term, focus on the benefits of possible small-scale, interim improvements, notably closure of the A344/A303 junction, in the absence of agreed large-scale development, but without prejudicing any future off-line solutions
- All recognise the considerable potential of the Stonehenge World Heritage site as a whole to deliver huge public value and consider that a formal assessment of that value should form part of any analysis for evaluating large-scale development in the World Heritage site
- All agree that the following principles should be heeded when assessing the appropriateness or otherwise of possible road and access schemes:
- The significance of the World Heritage site extends beyond individual scheduled monuments and their immediate settings
- The Stonehenge World Heritage site is a cultural landscape of interrelated complexes of monuments and buried remains, which together display an unique range of evidence for prehistoric society
- To safeguard the World Heritage site for future generations, the long-term view must always be considered, even for interim or partial solutions
Signatories – in alphabetical order:
ASLaN - Ancient Sacred Landscape Network
CBA - The Council for British Archaeology
CPRE - The Campaign to Protect Rural England
FoE - Friends of the Earth
ICOMOS-UK - International Council for Monuments & Sites, UK
Prehistoric Society
RESCUE - The British Archaeological Trust
The National Trust
Transport 2000
WANHS -Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society

22 01 2006
As can be seen from the link above the "New Proposals still jeopardise the integrity of the World Heritage Site

The news that the A303 Improvement scheme has been withdrawn is welcomed by Heritagelaw, And it is gratifying that the Government is to return to first principles in resolving the problem of the fragmented landscape that is Stonehenge by way of consultation and naturally we would be available to take part in any such consultations the Government has in mind.

The short bore tunnel option near the Monument would still leave the archaeological landscape of the World Heritage Site fragmented by the approach roads and cuttings thus adding to, rather than reducing, the impact on the landscape. It is therefore hoped that any alternative solutions to the current situation also involves an examination of other methods of transport, such as rail to reduce traffic along the A303 and improved public services to assist tourists in visiting one of England’s principle Archaeological attractions



ICOMOS-UK welcomes the announcement made yesterday by the Roads Minister, Dr Stephen Ladyman, to carry out a detailed review of possible options before making a decision on the Inspector’s Report into the A303 road scheme at Stonehenge World Heritage site.

The scheme interrogated at the Public Inquiry in 2004, for a short tunnel with over 2km of four-lane highway crossing the World Heritage site, may have been considered acceptable by the Inspector but runs contrary to the Government’s commitments to the World Heritage Convention to protect the Stonehenge World Heritage site for future generations.

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee is becoming increasingly concerned at developmental threats to World Heritage sites and is begining to consider tough actions. At the 29th Meeting of the Committee held in Durban from the 10th –17th July 2005, the Committee asked the UK Government to report on threats from tall buildings to the setting of the Tower of London World Heritage site by February 2006, and, having considered that report, may consider putting the site on the World Heritage in Danger List at the next session of the Committee in July 2006.

For the Stonehenge World Heritage site, ICOMOS-UK believes that the review announced by the Minister allows time for serious consideration to be given to alternative schemes for upgrading the A303 that do not involve cutting across the heart of the World Heritage site. We would like to see all the main parties working together to promote a solution that respects the significances of the World Heritage site.

22nd July 2005

Background Notes:
ICOMOS-UK opposed the scheme for a short tunnel with four-lane highway at either end within the World Heritage site, which was the subject of a Public Inquiry from 17th February to 11th May 2004.

Under the terms of the World Heritage Convention 1972, ICOMOS advises UNESCO World Heritage Committee on cultural World Heritage sites.

ICOMOS-UK, 70 Cowcross Street, London ES1M 6EJ
020 7566 0031, email: susandenyer@icomos-uk.org

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