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