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So says the National Audit Office :
In pure economic terms, because of the high cost of building a tunnel, the Amesbury to Berwick Down project, at £1.15 of quantified benefit for every £1 spent, has a significantly lower benefit-cost ratio than is usual in road schemes. Given our experience of cost increases on projects of this kind, this ratio could move to an even lower or negative value. It will be even more important therefore that the Department and Highways England ensure that the project meets its strategic and heritage objectives, and that Highways England manages the project well.”.

But there’s simply no scope to improve the existing proposals by good management. The problem isn’t “management” it’s the concept, about which they were warned. As the Stonehenge Alliance said in September 2017:

“The proposed scheme …. would cause severe and permanent damage to the archaeological landscape of the World Heritage Site in direct conflict with international advice to the UK Government earlier this year.”

So the trouble isn’t that the tunnel’s heritage objectives won’t be achieved, it’s that they will – severe and permanent damage in direct conflict with internationasl advice. If now the strategic objectives aren’t achieved either, that will be irrelevant for it will be an additional failure on top of an existing one. Two solutions still remain: lengthen the tunnel by 100% or shorten it by 100%.


May 2019

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