In a decision so irrational and heritage-unfriendly it could have been made by Shropshire Council at Oswestry Hillfort, Wiltshire Council has now come out in support of the Stonehenge tunnel. Its reasons are completely unconvincing:

The tunnel will “help to unlock” more than 21,000 jobs in the south west and boost the region’s economy by £9 billion. “The South West” and “the region”, note, not Wiltshire! And there’s really no evidence that 21,000 jobs and £9 billion’s worth of economic growth are being prevented in the South West let alone in Wiltshire by the few minutes of delay that sometimes happens near Stonehenge.

As if in acknowledgement that the claims are very thin, the Council says they are based on “An independent economic assessment commissioned by the local authorities and the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, and validated by Department for Transport“. But anyone who has followed this sorry saga will know that a report prompted by and validated by the Department of Transport is not authoritative: the Department has been consistently bending reality for years! One commenter may well have got much closer to the grubby truth:

“Timing is excellent. Lets just suck up to all the locals by pretending to support what the local villages want, the day before the council bye-election for the “Till and Wyle Valley” ward in which Stonehenge sits.”