Stonehenge tunnel petition handed into government

Image caption,

The petition was handed in to Downing Street earlier

A petition against plans to build a 1.9 mile (3km) tunnel near Stonehenge has been handed in to Downing Street.

Campaign group the Stonehenge Alliance has amassed more than 50,000 objections, which were delivered to No 10 earlier.

The petition said the government scheme would have a "catastrophic" impact on the Neolithic stone circle.

But Highways England said the tunnel would cut congestion and improve journey times on the A303 route.

The tunnel, part of a £1.7bn upgrade of the Wiltshire road, has been designed with the aim of removing the sight and sound of the road as it passes the World Heritage site.

Highways England said the route would cut congestion and "restore the tranquil environment and setting of the monument".

Work is due to begin in 2021 with an expected opening date of 2026.

Image source, Google

Image caption,

The A303 runs close to the Stonehenge monument

However, Blackadder actor and Time Team presenter Sir Tony Robinson has said the impact on the site would be "dire".

"It's a complete farce to expect to solve congestion and preserve the site by building a huge new expressway there," he said.

Kate Freeman, from Friends of the Earth South West, added the impact on climate would be "catastrophic".

"Future generations would be appalled at the way we had squandered their heritage and environment," she said.

The decision was also condemned by UNESCO's World Heritage Committee in July 2019

It said proposed changes to the A303 at Stonehenge would have an adverse impact on the "outstanding universal value" of the site.