Highways England has applied, this month to the planning inspectorate for a development consent order (DCO) to build a dual carriageway road tunnel across Salisbury Plain, next to Stonehenge.
Highways England propose upgrading the existing road to a dual carriageway and putting the section closest to Stonehenge, within a 1.8-mile tunnel. This would increase the traffic flow, making accessibility to the county easier, it argues.
The agency said a new road tunnel will "help unlock economic growth in the South West by improving journey reliability, increasing safety and improving connectivity with neighbouring regions, while protecting and enhancing the environment" (source: Planning Resource)
However, conservation groups have raised concerns that the plan, which is supposed to remove the sound and sight of traffic, will actually create a new route for traffic which is on the surface and close to the stones, and would like to see the plans re-evaluated, if not stopped altogether.
The Stonehenge Alliance which includes archaeologists and environmental campaigners, called the plan an “international scandal” and said the new road would be “gouged” through the chalk; “However well-designed, the devastating impact of this road engineering would destroy archaeology and deeply scar this iconic landscape and its setting forever."
Friends of the Earth, have said about the £1.6bn project, that; “Instead of building another road that increases traffic, money for the road scheme could be invested in a region that is crying out for significant investment in its bus and rail network to increase accessibility, improve air quality and boost sustainable tourism.”
PINS has until Friday 16 November 2018 to decide whether to accept the application for examination. If accepted and the planning is consented, construction could start in 2021.
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