Stonehenge road tunnel gets go-ahead despite protests

September 12, 2017
The site of Stonehenge in England was built in stages, from around 3,000 BC to 2,300 BC

Years of protests from druids and archaeologists have failed to derail plans for a new road tunnel near Britain's Stone Age site of Stonehenge, which received final approval from the government on Tuesday.

The 1.8-mile (2.9-kilometre) tunnel is planned to reduce frequent congestion on a major east-west road axis across England and has a budget of £1.6 billion (1.8 billion euros, $2.1 billion).

Officials have moved the planned route away from the UNESCO World Heritage site in response to criticism.

But Stonehenge Alliance, a group of non-governmental organisations, said it would cause "severe and permanent damage to the archaeological landscape".

"The project needs a complete re-think, not a minor tweak which still threatens major harm to this iconic landscape," said Kate Fielden from the Campaign to Protect Rural England, a member of the alliance.

Conservation groups English Heritage and the National Trust gave their approval to the plan, however.

"We welcome the amended route and believe it can, if designed and located with the utmost care, deliver a lasting legacy for the World Heritage Site and restore peace and tranquility to the Stonehenge landscape," the charities said in a statement.

Transport Minister Chris Grayling said the new tunnel would provide "a huge boost for the region".

"Quicker journey times, reduced congestion and cleaner air will benefit people locally and unlock growth in the tourism industry," he said.

Stonehenge was built in stages, from around 3,000 BC to 2,300 BC.

Thousands of people gather at the mysterious circle of standing stones on Salisbury Plain for the pagan fest of the summer solstice every year.

It is one of the most impressive prehistoric megalithic monuments anywhere due to its size, sophisticated plan and architectural precision.

Archaeologists have identified similar prehistoric monuments in the area, including another buried circle of stones measuring 500 metres (yards) across.

Explore further: Stonehenge archeologists find huge neolithic site

Related Stories

Stonehenge gets millions for major makeover

November 19, 2010

(AP) -- Stonehenge is getting a multimillion-pound (-dollar) grant that conservators say will help restore some dignity to a World Heritage site blighted by busy roads and cramped facilities.

Recommended for you

Ancient DNA offers new view on saber-toothed cats' past

October 19, 2017

Researchers who've analyzed the complete mitochondrial genomes from ancient samples representing two species of saber-toothed cats have a new take on the animals' history over the last 50,000 years. The data suggest that ...

Six degrees of separation: Why it is a small world after all

October 19, 2017

It's a small world after all - and now science has explained why. A study conducted by the University of Leicester and KU Leuven, Belgium, examined how small worlds emerge spontaneously in all kinds of networks, including ...

Scientists see order in complex patterns of river deltas

October 19, 2017

River deltas, with their intricate networks of waterways, coastal barrier islands, wetlands and estuaries, often appear to have been formed by random processes, but scientists at the University of California, Irvine and other ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

GarryDenke
not rated yet Sep 23, 2017
WTF? Paid for a 6.12km (3.8mi) Stonehenge Tunnel.
The Relics only 1.2m (4ft) below Heel Stone!
Funded the Long Tunnel, what gives?
G-D

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.