Ministers again overrule inspectors over A303

17/07/2023
Chris Ames

Campaigners have accused the transport secretary of a decision that ‘will permanently disfigure Britain’s most significant and sacred prehistoric landscape’ after he gave the go-ahead for National Highways’ controversial plans for a tunnel for the A303 at Stonehenge.

Mark Harper has granted a new development consent order (DCO) for the scheme, after a previous DCO granted by predecessor Grant Shapps was overturned in the High Court.

National Highways said its ‘transformational and sensitive upgrade’ will help to unlock congestion and transform journeys for millions of people using the A303 between the South East and South West.

In fact, the government-owned company’s own analysis shows that the tunnel will lead to congestion elsewhere without works further down the route that currently have no timetable for delivery.

In his decision letter, Mr Harper said he agreed with the Planning Inspectorate that full realisation of the wider benefits would be dependent on all proposed improvements in the A303 corridor being implemented and that in their absence, economic benefits from the scheme would be ‘moderate’.

National Highways chief executive Nick Harris said: ‘The A303 Stonehenge scheme is part of the biggest investment in our road network for a generation, and I’m really pleased the project has been given the green light by the secretary of state for transport – a decision which will enable us to progress this transformational scheme and deliver the planned benefits.

‘The decision follows a lot of work on a comprehensive year-long process to reassess our Development Consent Order, looking in detail at possible alternatives, also including cumulative carbon and heritage issues.

‘It means we’re now a step closer to solving the longstanding issues of congestion and delays on the existing A303, improving journeys for all our customers and bringing much-need relief to local communities.’

UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee has condemned the scheme, which will see both portals of the tunnel within the World Heritage Site, and has threatened to place the monument on the World Heritage in Danger List.

The Stonehenge Alliance campaign said it was appalled by the decision in the face of strong advice from the Planning Inspectorate.

President Tom Holland said: ‘Today, a supposedly Conservative government plans to blow upwards of £2bn, at a time when the country’s finances are in a shocking state, on a monstrous white elephant of a road development that will permanently disfigure Britain’s most significant and sacred prehistoric landscape.

‘The decision of Mark Harper to green-light the building of a tunnel through a stretch of the World Heritage Site that surrounds Stonehenge is as inexplicable as it is disgraceful.’

Derek Parody, project director for the scheme, said Nationalh Highways was currently analysing the detailed changes within the DCO and assessing timescales but anticipates being able to start preparatory work next year.

Latest Issue

latest magazine issue

ALSO INSIDE:

  • The Road Safety Manifesto
  • The IHE welcomes its new President
View the latest issue


Highways jobs

Senior Transport Planner

Competitive plus benefits
Senior Transport Planner Peterborough / Hybrid working   28 days' annual leave plus bank holidays Company car or car allowance plus fuel or charge ... Peterborough, Cambridgeshire
Recruiter: Helena Copping

Highway Inspections Technical Support Officer

Salary
Staffordshire County Council
Recruiter: Staffordshire County Council

Light Vehicle Mechanic

Grade 8 £14.26 - £15.25 per hour
We are looking for a highly motivated Light Vehicle Mechanic to join our County Transport team Derbyshire
Recruiter: Derbyshire County Council

Light Vehicle Mechanic

Grade 8 £14.26 - £15.25 per hour
We are looking for a highly motivated Light Vehicle Mechanic to join our County Transport team Derbyshire / Ambergate
Recruiter: Derbyshire County Council

Programme Assistant (Capital Programme Team) - WMF1265e

Grade 9 £32,076 - £33,024
The Capital Programme team is responsible for the core delivery of the Council’s c.£60m/year Capital Programme Cumbria
Recruiter: Westmorland and Furness Council

Project Manager - Parking Services - WMF1269e

Project Manager - Parking Services - WMF1269e
Would you like to be part of our journey and make a positive impact on our area? Cumbria
Recruiter: Westmorland and Furness Council

Highways Engagement Officer - WMF1266e

£32,076 - £33,024
We are excited to offer this permanent opportunity covering the 3 locality areas of Westmorland and Furness Council Cumbria
Recruiter: Westmorland and Furness Council

Supervising Technician

£33,024.00 - £35,745.00, Grade 8, 37 hours, Permanent
We are an award winning enthusiastic team who pride themselves on providing a top class Transport Service. Wakefield, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Wakefield Council

Heavy Goods Vehicle / Light Vehicle Mechanic

£14.26 - £15.25 per hour – (2024/25 pay award pending) plus market leading package (see below)
You will need to be suitably experienced, hold a minimum of an NVQ Level 2 (or equivalent) vocational County Transport – Brimington Workshops
Recruiter: Derbyshire County Council

Highways Area Steward - WMF1272e

Grade 11 £35,745 - £36,648 Package
We have an exciting opportunity for the right candidate to take that next step in their career Cumbria
Recruiter: Westmorland and Furness Council

Civil Enforcement Officers

£23,893 - £25,119
We’re looking for Civil Enforcement officers to join our parking services team. Harrogate, North Yorkshire
Recruiter: North Yorkshire Council

Senior Projects Engineer

£49,854 - £56,565 per annum
Deliver projects that elevate everyday life in a Royal Borough. Kensington and Chelsea, London (Greater)
Recruiter: The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council

Highway Adoptions and Agreements Technician

£32,076 - £33,945
North Northamptonshire is growing and evolving rapidly as a Council and as a Community. Northampton, Northamptonshire
Recruiter: North Northamptonshire Council

Traffic Installation Technician

Competitive
Traffic Installation TechnicianWhen you join our Engineering Team at Telent, you'll be empowered to innovate and drive common solutions, working close England, West Yorkshire, Leeds
Recruiter: Telent

Highway Permit Scheme Manager

£42,403 - £48,474 per annum . Incremental progression subject to performance
We are offering an exciting opportunity to join our Highway Works Permit Team Solihull, West Midlands
Recruiter: Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council

Community Highway Officer

£36,648 - £41,418
It’s an exciting time to join our Highways Team. Staffordshire
Recruiter: Staffordshire County Council

Community Highway Technician

£36,648- £41,418
It’s an exciting time to join our Highways Team. Staffordshire
Recruiter: Staffordshire County Council

Information Engineer

£42,403 - £46,464
It's an exciting time to join our Highways Team. Staffordshire
Recruiter: Staffordshire County Council

Chargehand Driver HGV x6

£36,100 - £37,384
Street Services provides a highly important service to all the borough’s residents and visitors Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Highways Development Control Manager

£50,512 - £53,204 plus benefits.
A permanent opportunity has arisen within the Highways Development Control Team. Wirral, Merseyside
Recruiter: Wirral Borough Council

Highways Presents

 


Latest Video