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The National Trust AGM is currently being streamed on line HERE. They have just said that the reason they are now willing to support a short tunnel at Stonehenge is that although they “stood firm” on a long tunnel last time the Government had refused and it has become clear that a long tunnel will never be agreed to. That comes as no surprise to anyone, but they then added (words to the effect that):
We think there’s a real risk that if we don’t support a short tunnel the Government will simply push ahead and dual the whole of the A303 right across the World Heritage site.
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To which we’d respond:
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1. Is there such a risk? Who says so? How great a risk is it? Since the NT changing it’s mind is the thing that seems to have fired the starting gun for a short tunnel shouldn’t the Trust have a better reason for changing its mind than an unattributed, unexplained, unquantified “fear”?
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2. Does the Trust know that dualling the whole road across the whole World Heritage Site would be more damaging to world heritage archaeology (and the hydrology of Salisbury Plain) than constructing deep, wide tunnel entrances over part of it? Has the Trust access to convincing data on those issues, will they publish it immediately?
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3. Does the Trust know that European money for a longer tunnel is not available and if not are they prepared to suspend their support for a short one until they and the public are in possession of all the necessary facts upon which to base a proper judgement?
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4. What exactly does “forever, for everyonemean?
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UPDATE Sun 9 Nov:
You can now see the two questions asked about the tunnel and the Trust’s answers here:
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Question 1 by Kate Fielden 48 minutes – for 4 minutes
Question 2 by Kate Freeman 1 hour 03 minutes – for 2 minutes.
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UPDATE Mon 10 Nov
This morning the Prime Minister will say, 3 weeks in advance of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement that the whole length of the A303 will be upgraded to be at least a dual carriageway

Dear Fellow Landowners,

Farmer Brown: confused

Farmer Brown: Confused

This week I’ve been puzzling about this: why, if “metal detecting good practice” is so desirable, hasn’t it been made compulsory?

A detectorist on a forum has just provided a clue. He complained that a PAS document reproduces the official Code of Practice but it “omits the basic fact that is a VOLUNTARY Code.”  Think about that, Friends. Why on earth would anyone worry that its voluntary nature wasn’t stressed? After all, as everyone says, “responsible detecting” is an entirely Good Thing for the more it is followed, the less heritage damage there is. Every detectorist that has ever come to my gate says they follow the Responsibility Code for that very reason. But here’s a thing you might not realise: detectorists only support it if it is voluntary!

The truth of Bonkers Britain is that a few thousand people (and absolutely no-one else) are adamant that they must retain their freedom to choose not to comply with the code if it suits them. They comprise only 0.015% of the population, 1 person in every 6,000, yet their threats to defy any element of compulsion that is proposed have rendered the introduction of “compulsory good practice” completely impossible – in a highly developed, educated, conservation-minded Western democracy.

Let me put it like this: imagine if a tiny (and demonstrably selfish) section of the British population had successfully threatened and lobbied for the past 40 years to prevent any drink driving laws being introduced!

Your friend,

Silas Brown,
Grunters Hollow Farm,
Worfield,
Salop

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More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting

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