Save Stonehenge World Heritage Site Again!

by Save Stonehenge World Heritage Site

Save Stonehenge World Heritage Site Again!

by Save Stonehenge World Heritage Site
Save Stonehenge World Heritage Site
Case Owner
Determined to protect the Stonehenge landscape for future generations
days to go
pledged of £80,000 stretch target from 2,372 pledges
Pledge now
Save Stonehenge World Heritage Site
Case Owner
Determined to protect the Stonehenge landscape for future generations
Pledge now

This case is raising funds for its stretch target. Your pledge will be collected within the next 24-48 hours (and it only takes two minutes to pledge!)

Latest: Nov. 14, 2023

We have a date!

We’ve now been told that our court hearing will begin on Tuesday, 12th December at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. It’s scheduled to run for three days and will be a rolled up hear…

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Who we are

We are individuals closely associated with the Stonehenge Alliance which has been campaigning for over 20 years to protect the Stonehenge World Heritage Site.

Protesters outside the British Museum’s World of Stonehenge exhibition

Vandalism of the Stonehenge landscape must be stopped again!

The new road and tunnel would cause massive and irreparable damage to the archaeological landscape in violation of the UK’s international commitment to safeguard the site for future generations.

Highways England’s mock-up of the new engineering required in the eastern part of the World Heritage Site

We need to challenge this new decision!

We need to challenge the Government’s decision to approve the construction of a £2.5 billion dual carriageway through the Stonehenge World Heritage Site for a second time.

We successfully challenged the original decision to approve the scheme back in 2021. The High Court ruled in our favour and quashed the development consent. Once again, the Government has approved the scheme, continuing to ignore the objections of UNESCO and the recommendation of the Government’s own planning inspectors.

But isn’t the road in a tunnel?

National Highways claim the scheme (partially in a tunnel) will “protect” and “enhance” the World Heritage Site. That is not true.  Even the Government admits the road will damage it.

A 3km tunnel is far too short to protect a 5.4km wide World Heritage Site.

Map showing how the tunnel isn’t long enough to avoid damage to the World Heritage Site (Courtesy Amesbury Museum and Heritage Trust)

Twin tunnel portals, deep dual carriageway cuttings, and slip roads would be constructed within the World Heritage Site, along with huge interchanges at its boundaries. Untold archaeological evidence would be destroyed and travellers’ passing view of the Stones would be lost. At a time when temperature records across the globe are regularly being broken, the new road will generate millions of tonnes of carbon emissions.

Why Stonehenge is so special

Stonehenge, together with Avebury and their surrounding landscapes, were designated a World Heritage Site in 1986 because of their unique Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments and sites dating back some 6,000 years. The famous Stonehenge monument stands at the heart of, and inseparable from, an expanse of chalkland remarkable for its evidence of our distant ancestors: their homes and living spaces, farming, working and ceremonial practices. It is described by UNESCO as a “landscape without parallel”.

Tom Holland, historian and Stonehenge Alliance president, with the petition outside Downing Street (currently at over 223,000 signatures)

What is a World Heritage Site?

World Heritage Sites are recognised as outstanding examples of cultural or natural heritage and are so designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). They are put forward for designation by national governments who promise to safeguard them for future generations.

Exciting new discoveries

In recent years, with advances in geophysical techniques, new archaeological discoveries are being made all the time.  Much scientific survey work in the Stonehenge World Heritage Site awaits analysis. In 2020, a major new monument was identified: a series of huge pits centred on Durrington Walls henge, not far from Stonehenge. A few years ago, important Mesolithic finds were discovered at Blick Mead. Who knows how much unknown archaeology would be lost by bulldozing great swathes of the landscape for a new road?

Sir Tony Robinson of Time Team fame, explains his concerns about the road

Isn’t the new road needed to help the South West? 

This road is one of eight schemes needed to complete dualling of the A303 corridor from Basingstoke to Exeter – most of them have not yet been developed. Any perceived benefits of the Stonehenge scheme are many years away: it would simply move traffic to the next congested hotspot.

Completion of all these road schemes wouldn’t solve the problem either. It would encourage more traffic into the South West whose rural roads and settlements already suffer from too much traffic at peak times.

Isn’t the road good for the economy?

No, the new road will cost far more to build than it will ever deliver in benefits, even by National Highways’ own figures.

What’s next?

To stop this monstrous desecration of our ancient past and irrational urge to increase carbon emissions in a climate emergency, we need to go to the High Court to seek a Judicial Review of this second decision.

We’re lucky to have secured the same legal experts who helped us win last time. They have agreed to represent us at a discount but nevertheless the costs are likely to be considerable.

We must quickly raise at least £15,000, for initial legal advice but to take the case all the way to the High Court we are likely to need nearer £80,000.

Should we raise more than this, funds will be ring-fenced to cover additional unforeseen legal costs, including any potential appeal, and our wider costs for this case. In the event of any surplus funds, these would support other heritage or road campaigns.

Thank you for reading this – please consider helping with a donation and sharing with friends and family.

For more information about the Stonehenge Alliance see their website.

Update 6

Save Stonehenge World Heritage Site

Nov. 14, 2023

We have a date!

We’ve now been told that our court hearing will begin on Tuesday, 12th December at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. It’s scheduled to run for three days and will be a rolled up hearing, where the permission to be heard and the full case are held at the same time. The last day will be Thursday, 14th. We will then have to wait, probably until the new year, for a judgement to be handed down. At this point in time we don’t know who the judge will be, although it could well be Mr Justice Holgate who heard our previous judicial review.

This will be our chance to make the case as to why the decision should be thrown out again. This will probably be harder this time as the Government has at least made a pretence of considering alternative options. Nonetheless, there are a number of grounds, including the consideration of alternatives, where we feel it has erred in law. These should give the judge strong reasons to quash the decision again.

To help us ensure we have the best possible case please continue to share the crowdfunder. We still need another £19,000 to meet our fundraising target, so every little helps.

Many thanks for your support,

Chris, John & Mike

Update 5

Save Stonehenge World Heritage Site

Nov. 1, 2023

Our day in court approaches

As the world seems to be falling apart around us, we’ve learnt that our court case is likely to be sometime in December. It’s being allocated 3 days for what is known as a rolled up hearing, where the permission to be heard and the full case are held at the same time. At present, we don’t have any dates, but National Highways is pressing the courts to speed up the process so it can go ahead and start damaging the World Heritage Site early next year.

It is now clear that both National Highways and the Government are trying to rush through as many road schemes as they can before the Government gets thrown out at the next General Election. This is not about doing what is best for the country, but trying to buy votes and imposing an ideology on us all with little basis in facts or reality.

While Rishi Sunak has made a big deal about cutting HS2 north of Birmingham, claiming it is too expensive and the economic case no longer stacks up, he has not done the same thing for road building. Yet the economic case for the A303 at Stonehenge is far worse than for HS2 and should have been binned years ago.

We are the only thing standing between the bulldozers of this increasingly dysfunctional Government and the World Heritage Site. Please continue to help us protect our world heritage from short termism, corruption and greed. Please share and promote this crowdfunder far and wide.

Many thanks,

Chris, John & Mike

Update 4

Save Stonehenge World Heritage Site

Sept. 22, 2023

UNESCO Stands Firm

UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee (WHC), meeting in Riyadh since 10th September, has stuck to its guns and sent a strong message to the UK Government about its concern for Stonehenge World Heritage Site (WHS). It remains firmly opposed to the dualling of the A303 through Stonehenge WHS which will cause permanent and irreversible harm.

In its agreed statement (pages 86 - 91) the WHC:

7. Expresses profound regret that the Scheme has been granted a DCO without having been modified in accordance with previous Committee decisions and the recommendations of the 2022 mission;  

8. Reiterates its previous request that the State Party not proceed with the implementation of the Scheme for the section between Amesbury and Berwick Down in its current form … 

9. Further notes that the approved A303 road improvement scheme within the Stonehenge component of the property retains substantial dual carriageway sections exposed in cuttings, particularly those at the western end of the Stonehenge component of the property and that, at the present time, the A303 road improvement scheme, as approved by the DCO, constitutes a potential threat to the property, in conformity with Paragraph 179 of the Operational Guidelines, which, if implemented, would have deleterious impacts on the OUV of the property including its integrity, warranting inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger;  [our emphasis]

At the WHC meeting, the Stonehenge Alliance had a statement read out by a representative from Australian Marine (an Australian NGO).

We remain grateful that UNESCO remains firmly opposed to the road scheme and await the news from the courts as to whether we will receive permission to argue our case in court.

Update 3

Save Stonehenge World Heritage Site

Sept. 6, 2023

UNESCO petitioned in Paris

John Adams outside UNESCO headquarters in Paris

Yesterday, John Adams and Chris Todd, two of the directors of Save Stonehenge World Heritage Site, and members of the Stonehenge Alliance, took the Eurostar to Paris to meet with UNESCO officials. The purpose of the visit was to deliver a copy of our petition with its 225,000 signatures to make UNESCO aware of the strength of feeling against the Government's road building plans through the Stonehenge World Heritage Site (WHS).

We received a cordial welcome and had a productive meeting where we impressed upon them that we were the only thing standing between the Site and the bulldozers. We also made it clear that we welcomed their strong line on Stonehenge but that as far as we were concerned the UK Government had absolutely no intention of considering less damaging alternatives.

We agreed to keep them informed of any developments and we await the outcome of the World Heritage Committee meeting in Riyadh later this month. As far as the legal challenge is concerned, we are not expecting to hear anything from the courts for a month or so, but will let you know as soon as we do.

Update 2

Save Stonehenge World Heritage Site

Aug. 26, 2023

Legal challenge launched!

This week we filed our claim with the High Court, challenging the Government’s decision to approve this monstrosity of a road scheme through the World Heritage Site.

Now that we have moved on to the next stage of the process we need to raise our target to £80,000 to pay for the work the legal team will now have to do preparing for court and rebutting the Government’s arguments.

Thanks to the swift and generous response of our followers and supporters we’ve done fantastically well in raising as much as we have so quickly, but we still have some way to go. So please share and contribute to this crowdfunder where you can.

Many thanks,

Chris, John and Mike

Update 1

Save Stonehenge World Heritage Site

July 31, 2023

First step taken with letter to Government

A huge thank you to everyone who has contributed to and shared this crowdfunder so far. We have reached our initial target in just over 3 days which is amazing. It shows people's generosity and their strength of feeling about National Highways' proposed vandalism of the World Heritage Site.

We have now submitted the Pre-Application Protocol letter to the Government who have two weeks to respond. We will then submit our legal challenge before the 6 week deadline is up towards the end of August.

Now we need to continue fundraising to pay for the work that will go into developing our case and rebutting anything that the Government puts forward in its defence. We appreciate that getting to our next target of £50,000 will be challenging but it is well worth it in order to help us safeguard this iconic site for future generations.

In total, we will need to raise of the order of £80,000 as we did last time in 2021 when we successfully defeated the Government's approval of the new road. 

We will keep this page updated with any significant developments as they arise.

Chris, John and Mike

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