21 Jul 2017
Posted By: Caroline Sandes
Comments: 0

At the 41st session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in Krakow, Poland, held earlier this month, the Committee considered a State of Conservation report for Stonehenge and approved a series of recommendations for the proposed tunnel project based on the outcomes of two Expert Advisory Missions. The full report can be read here: http://whc.unesco.org/en/soc/3652

ICOMOS-UK notes that the State of Conservation report indicates clearly that the UK is far from yet having a viable and acceptable road improvement scheme which sustains the OUV of the Stonehenge & Avebury WHS.

The report concluded the 2.9km tunnel scheme put out for Public Consultation would have a potential adverse impact on the Stonehenge landscape from the 2.2km of four lane approach roads in cuttings within the property at either end of the tunnel, and could fundamentally compromise the property’s OUV.

It stated that sufficient priority had not been afforded to the OUV of the property and it could not be suggested that the benefits from a 2.9km tunnel to the centre of the property could offset significant damage from lengths of four lane approach roads in cuttings elsewhere in the property.

Amongst other recommendations, the Committee urged the State Party to explore further options, including the F10 non-tunnel by-pass option to the south of the property, and longer tunnels to remove dual carriageway cuttings from the property. It also asked the State Party to establish a new ‘consultative’ process with a wide range of stakeholders.

ICOMOS-UK considers that sustaining the OUV of this important and iconic site is paramount whatever proposals are brought forward. We welcome the Committee’s recommendation to establish a new ‘consultative’ process with a wide range of stakeholders and would be ready and willing to engage with this process utilising the expertise of its specialist World Heritage Committee. 

Photo: Nick Cohen