Stonehenge Defenders Got Their Day at Court

Stonehenge Defenders Got Their Court Day on December 12, Opposing Government Road-Building Project.

Dec 16, 2023By Angela Davic, News, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and Analysis
Stonehenge by Sanjay Nair, via Wikimedia Commons


Stonehenge defenders are a group of druids, scholars, activists, and historians. Overall, they will be part of the courtroom discussion. They will demonstrate against an extensive federal development plan near one of the world’s most important historic locations. The whole process will contend in front of a high court that the proposed road tube will permanently harm the environment.


UNESCO to Revoke WHS Status for Stonehenge

stonehenge aerial photo
Via English Heritage


Since the Tory government revealed plans for the new route in 2017, there was a lot of discussion. Despite the fact that draft officials stated the tunnel would create “permanent, irreversible harm,” then-transport secretary Grant Shapps allowed the scheme. Opponents of the idea have one more opportunity to present their case in court. Tunnel proponents claim that less traffic will use the A303.


The A303 is a local route that connects the southeast and southwest of England. It at the moment is infamous for congestion, and now only has one lane in both directions. They claim that by relocating vehicles further out, the spot can be improved. However, some claim it will compromise the site’s structural integrity. Also, UNESCO threatened to revoke the monument’s designation as a World Heritage Site, should the idea proceed.


plan of stonehenge
Plan of the monument, as of 2004, by Adamsan CC via World History Encyclopedia


Furthermore, critics assert that the $2.13 billion budget projection for the endeavour is inadequate. Also, that it will actually cost in the region of $3.14 billion. As a result of a legal dispute filed in 2021 by the Stonehenge Alliance’s Save Stonehenge World Heritage Site campaign (SSWHS), a judge ruled that Transport Secretary Shapps’s action was “unlawful”.

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Urges to the Government

what can you see stonehenge
Via archive.


It also said claiming the quality of every person Stonehenge component was not taken seriously. It also pointed out that no alternatives had been discussed as part of the investigation. But in the summer of 2023, Mark Harper, the newly appointed transport secretary, gave his approval to a slightly altered version of the scheme. SSWHS filed a second lawsuit, this time requesting a judicial review and stating that the government ought to take UNESCO’s concerns more seriously.


It says that the western entry of the tunnel would have “significant and inappropriate adverse impacts on the physical and visual integrity of the property”. The body urged the government to move the western entry as far west as possible. “It’s arrogance from the government”, the druid King Arthur Pendragon.


Stone tools
Stone tools, with accompanying analysis. Courtesy of the University of Leicester.


“The inspectors have said it’s a bad idea, but the government has just ignored them and decided they’ll bloody well do what they want to do. Ridiculous”. Opponents of the new tunnel point out that the site will no longer be visible from the A303 roadway, which they describe as one of the greatest views Britain has to offer.









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By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.