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Where the public once heard from a genuinely independently formed group of 21 eminent archaeologists highlighting shortcomings of the A303 tunnel scheme, there is now “the Stonehenge Scientific Committee – a body of leading independent archaeologists”.
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Independent? The membership was not selected independently (as UNESCO wished with ‘both ASAHRG and academic researchers fully involved’). Membership was sounded out by the control group known as HMAG (Heritage Monitoring and Advisory Group), which recommended the Scientific Committee’s membership list that Highways England recruited and attend their meetings.  Although chaired by Wiltshire Council, HMAG is made up of the National Trust, Historic England and English Heritage – who all want the tunnel.
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Interestingly, on first meeting and before being brought to heel this Stonehenge Scientific Committee asked for the western tunnel portal to be relocated outside the World Heritage Site, resulting in the tunnel being 2km longer. Unless searched for the public wouldn’t hear of this, instead the Highways England press release 8 February 2018 implies that the Stonehenge Scientific Committee supports the current scheme:
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“Since the last consultation in September, Highways England has continued to work with heritage groups such as the National Trust, Historic England and English Heritage, as well as experts in the field, including the Stonehenge Scientific Committee – a body of leading independent archaeologists – to ensure a new route is built sensitively to the World Heritage Site”.
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Muzzled by Highways England, sat on by HMAG, the Stonehenge Scientific Committee has no bark or bite. “Good doggie – listen to your Master’s voice!”
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