We’ve all been bombarded with the benefits of removing the existing A303 (quieter stones and an average of 8 minutes off the travel time). Historic England, English Heritage, the National Trust and the Highways Agency have made sure of that. But have they fully explained the harm it will do? Of course not, and that’s a story in itself, the moral of which is that a pig with lipstick is still a pig whatever the Government’s agents are telling the public.
So for the avoidance of all doubt, here’s what we will lose. Everyone should keep it in mind every time anyone says the tunnel is fine:
Loss of national reputation. We’ve signed an international promise not to do what we’re proposing to do and we’re currently concocting a form of words to deny it (we have to be, for without that we can’t do it, yet the whole world will know we’re lying).
The damage. We’re not going to just dig a hole. Or a hundred holes. We’re going to dig out countless millions of cubic feet of land to drive dual carriageways, some of them in cuttings, for a mile across 27 sq.km of archaeologically rich landscape recognised to be of outstanding universal value to mankind.
The view. Which civilised country would deprive tens of millions of travellers a year of this ancient, iconic, world-famous sight? Depriving them of it even for a long tunnel would be tragic. Doing so for a short one would be unforgivable.
Britain’s oldest and most arresting man-made view? How many young archaeologists and historians off on their holidays has it inspired? (Quite a few who now work for Historic England, English Heritage and the National Trust, you can be sure!)
So, which of those three are you prepared to lose? Historic England, English Heritage, the National Trust and the Highways Agency want you to lose all three!