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Maybe you thought, when UNESCO said the benefits “cannot be offset against the damage” the game was up for the short tunnel advocates? Not so in the case of Highways England. We hear it’s set to simply ignore UNESCO. Predictable perhaps, given that it’s there to build roads in as straight lines as it can, not to save heritage.

So the remaining conservation hopes lie with EH, HE and The Trust. But no, they too are letting the landscape down but using a different technique: instead of heeding UNESCO’s words they are misrepresenting them, saying “the report largely ignores both the benefits of removing a large stretch of the A303 and the danger of doing nothing at all”. In truth, UNESCO didn’t ignore the benefits, it simply said it’s “not satisfactory” to say they can offset the damage – and it didn’t say “do nothing”, it urged Britain “to explore further options“.

So 1.) Ignore, 2.) Misrepresent. Any other tactics? Yes, here’s Mr Mike Pitts saying the southern route favoured by “some archaeologists” would be very damaging too! The implications of that are mind bending: is it going to be argued that it’s better to damage inside the WHS than outside? What would that do to Britain’s reputation?! Plus, imagine if the Government finally accepted UNESCO is right and the road must go south of the WHS – would EH, HE, The Trust and others be up in arms saying no, we disagree with the Government, the land outside the WHS must be protected, only the World Heritage Site should be damaged?! Curiouser and curiouser!



August 2017

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