British government approves controversial road tunnel project near Stonehenge

WION Web Team
London, United Kingdom Published: Nov 13, 2020, 09:47 PM(IST)

Stonehenge Photograph:( AFP )

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The $2.2 billion tunnel project includes a new dual carriageway with a two-mile tunnel beside Stonehenge and aims at hiding a nearby main road that has long blighted the mysterious prehistoric circle of stones in southern England

The British government has given the green light to a controversial road tunnel project near the prehistoric Stonehenge site.

The $2.2 billion tunnel project includes a new dual carriageway with a two-mile tunnel beside Stonehenge and aims at hiding a nearby main road that has long blighted the mysterious prehistoric circle of stones in southern England.

England's highways agency believes the road beside Stonehenge is a congestion hotspot with traffic flow double what it was designed for, and that the tunnel amounts to the biggest investment in English roads for a generation.

However, as per a report, the decision was taken by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and it conflicts with the suggestions of the Planning Inspectorate, which had cautioned about the "lasting" and "irreversible" hurt which can emerge from the task.

According to the Department for Transport, Shapps was supposed to be "fulfilled that on balance the need case for the improvement along with different advantages distinguished exceed any damage."

Stonehenge, one of the world's most famous prehistoric monuments, includes a 5,000-year-old ditch and a Neolithic stone circle with early Bronze Age burial mounds nearby. It is a World Heritage Site.

Some archaeologists and local residents oppose the project. They say the tunnel is too short and will damage the archaeological surroundings of Stonehenge. They have called for a deep-bored tunnel at least 4.5 km (3 miles) long.

The Stonehenge Alliance, which opposes the project, said it deeply regretted Shapps' decision and would discuss its options. There is now a six-week period in which the decisions may be challenged in the High Court, Highways England said.

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