Stonehenge tunnel: cynical attempt by government to sneak through road-widening scheme, says Green MEP

Responding to the announcement by the government that it has agreed to build a 1.8 mile tunnel under the Stonehenge World Heritage Site, Molly, who is Green MEP for the area, said:

“As MEP for the South West I am mindful of the importance of improving accessibility to the region to ensure sustainable business and tourism can thrive. However, this should be done without damage to the beautiful landscapes and historic sites that visitors come to see, in this case the unique prehistoric monument at Stonehenge, set within a World Heritage Site (WHS). The Green Party’s policy is that accessibility is best provided through improved public transport and an enhanced and resilient rail network.  

“Today’s announcement by Highways England of the preferred route for a £1.6Bn upgrade to the A303 flies in the face of UNESCO advice and concerns expressed by environmental groups and heritage organisations about damage to the World Heritage Site. The passage of a major road through a sacred landscape is far from ideal, but the government has cynically used concerns about traffic noise and pollution close to the Stones to sneak through what is essentially a road-widening scheme designed to reduce travel times from London.

“The decision to upgrade the A303 demonstrates yet again that we have a government that is in thrall to the car and fossil-fuelled transport and will use any opportunity to expand roads. By contrast, Greens are committed to the need to plan and deliver future transport solutions that enable a radical reduction in carbon emissions and rely on public rather than private transport.”