Home News The UK government approves the construction of a tunnel near the famous site of Stonehenge

The UK government approves the construction of a tunnel near the famous site of Stonehenge

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On Friday, July 14, the British government approved the construction of a tunnel near the prehistoric site of Stonehenge (southwest England), a controversial project that was put on hold because it was deemed illegal by the courts two years ago. Transport Secretary Mark Harper gave his approval for the project.

An earlier license had been revoked due to the environmental impact of the road project, at a cost of £1.7 billion (nearly two billion euros) on the UNESCO World Heritage site.

sequel after announcement

The huge stones at Stonehenge could have been moved for miles in ancient times

The nearly three-kilometre long tunnel is supposed to relieve congestion in an important east-west road hub, and is heavily criticized by several associations, united into the Stonehenge Alliance group.

“permanent and irreversible damage”

At the end of July 2021, Justice declared the project illegal, because the Secretary of Transportation at the time, Grant Shapps, had not considered an alternative solution, even though he was obliged to do so by the status of the classified site.

The government had given the go-ahead for the project in the fall of 2020, despite opposition from a panel of urban planning experts who warned it risked causing “permanent and irreversible damage” in the archaeological site.

UNESCO has warned that the prehistoric site, classified as a World Heritage Site since 1986, will be added to the list of sites. ” in danger “ If the project is implemented, it thus risks losing its status as a World Heritage Site.

sequel after announcement

“It’s a massive intervention.”

Built in stages between approximately 3000 and 2300 BC, Stonehenge is one of the most important prehistoric monuments in the world due to its size, sophisticated design, and architectural subtlety. Its standing stones form a group of mysterious circles that attract thousands of people each year for pagan solstice festivals.

In the 64-page document authorizing the project, Transport Secretary Mark Harper argues that its impact on the landscape has been reduced and must be weighed against the benefit to the public.

Kate Fielden, an archaeologist and secretary of the Stonehenge Alliance, decried the fact that the project would be out of date ‘Irreversible damage’ On site. “Not just the tunnel. On both sides, there will be wide and deep cuts in the landscape, ruining the ruins.”denounced the British PA agency.

“It’s a massive intervention.”She insisted on this, also indicating the possibility of a new lawsuit.

sequel after announcement

New calls are expected

The main road that will use the tunnel, the A303, is busy during holiday departures to and from the south and west.

“This story is starting to seem as old as the stones themselves and it’s not over yet.”Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Motorists’ Association, responded, anticipating fresh appeals. He pointed out that dozens of projects have succeeded since 1991 in improving traffic in the region.

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