Two mile tunnel underneath Stonehenge is set to be scrapped over funding problems after survey uncovered issues that could send costs soaring to £2billion
Controversial plans to tunnel under Stonehenge are set to be scrapped The A303 upgrade in Wiltshire involves work around the World Heritage Site Planners wanted to dig a £2bn 1.8 mile tunnel under the neolithic monument The Cabinet is set to ditch the plan due to costs despite ongoing traffic mayhem
A controversial £1.7 billion scheme to build a tunnel underneath the neolithic Stonehenge is now set to be scrapped, it has been claimed today.
Survey work carried out on the UNESCO World Heritage Site last summer has allegedly uncovered a series of issues that would escalate the cost to over £2 billion – a cost the government are said to be not prepared to pay.
The news comes just a week after a petition with thousands of signatures calling on the government not to damage the site of the prehistoric stone circle with road plans was delivered to Downing Street.
A planned £2bn tunnel underneath Stonehenge, pictured, is under threat as the Government considers scrapping the controversial project which has been condemned by UNESCO
The project was designed to slash travel times on the A303 in Wiltshire which is often at a standstill on bank holidays
Author and historian Tom Holland, second left, took a petition of more than 50,000 signatures to Downing Street on February 19 calling for the plan to be scrapped
The proposed upgrade of the A303 in Wiltshire, of which the planned 1.8 mile long tunnel would be a part of, is intended to bring relief to the route, during peak travel times.
However, according to the Salisbury Journal, the government is already looking at alternatives.
Experts have been in the area since last summer but the decision now rests with the Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps who has until the spring to announce his decision.
But some sources say that the decision could be made in time for the new budget on March 11.
Salisbury City MP John Glen, who has championed the tunnel scheme, said: ‘Large, strategic infrastructure projects like this are always subject to ongoing controversy and rumour until the final decision is made by government.
‘The Planning Inspectorate made their recommendation to Grant Shapps on January 2, beginning a three-month period in which to issue a final decision on the project.
‘We await his decision. I appreciate there is considerable cost accompanying the project but I have always been clear that the alternatives to what have been proposed do not stack up.’
Campaign group the Stonehenge Alliance gathered around 50,000 signatures for their latest petition calling for ‘no further damage’ to be done to the archaeological landscape.
Archaeologists believe the world renowned stone circle was constructed from 3000 BC to 2000 BC.
When the project was revealed in 2002, the tunnel was due to cost £183 million
The Stonehenge Alliance says that if the expansion of the A303 is felt to be essential, it should be by means of a deep bored tunnel at least 2.8 miles long as anything less would cause ‘irreparable damage’ to the wider World Heritage Site.
The decision was condemned by UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee in July 2019.
Meanwhile, Boris Johnson looks on the brink of killing off Heathrow’s third runway plan today after campaigners won a crucial legal battle.
The government has effectively washed its hands of the battle for the £14billion project after the Court of Appeal ruled that it had not yet met environmental standards – with No10 confirming that it will not take the case to the Supreme Court.
Judges declared that the Government had failed to take account of its commitment to the Paris Agreement on climate change when setting out its support for the airport expansion in its National Policy Statement (NPS).
The Prime Minister – who as London Mayor once vowed to ‘lie down in front of bulldozers’ to prevent the new runway – now seems set to pull support for the scheme. Asked about his bulldozer remark during the election campaign, Mr Johnson said he would ‘find some way of honouring that promise’.