Many tributes have been paid to Lord Kennet (Wayland Young) who recently died. His influence extended far beyond the core issues of his parliamentary and ministerial roles to many conservation areas including chairmanship of the Council for the Protection of Rural England, campaigning for listed buildings including St Pancras station, supporting the Redundant Churches Fund and patron of Action for the River Kennet.
He was also passionately concerned for the welfare of both Avebury and Stonehenge. He was a chairman of the Avebury Society and a staunch opponent of inappropriate development both there and at other World Heritage sites. In addition he was first chairman and patron of the Stonehenge Alliance and was for many years at the forefront of defending our national icon from a succession of schemes that would have disfigured it forever.
The day after he died it was announced that a new visitors centre for Stonehenge was to be constructed, well away from the stones. The fact that massive new highways will not be driven across the World Heritage landscape is due in no small part to his ceaseless opposition to such plans. He said of them that they were “…barbaric… No other country in the world would contemplate treating a site which is a world icon in such a way.” Now, they are abandoned, hopefully forever. It was a close call however and in the modern fashion his passing should be greeted with respectful applause.