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It was a shock when the Stonehenge World Heritage landscape – which everyone thought was well-protected – turned out not to be, AT ALL! It just needed two things to come along together – a perceived electoral advantage corresponding with a key guardian having a temporary brainstorm. Thus, six years ago, the National Trust did a screeching Top Gear u-turn to fall in behind David Cameron’s tunnel plan.

“Why” is something the historians will analyse, but the worry today is that if “forever, for everyone” can be cast aside once, it can be cast aside again, both at Stonehenge and elsewhere. Protection can be withdrawn at a stroke it seems, as it was the moment the Trust decided to support the short tunnel scheme, a moment which the Government described as”pivotal”.

In America they have something which might be better: under Article 14 of the New York state constitution land can be designated “forever wild” and that status can only be changed by amending the constitution. Imagine if Stonehenge had been in New York State covered by a “Forever Sacrosanct” statute? It would take lots of complex procedures and votes to do what in Britain was actually pre-determined by a tiny number of people in private.


forever wild


September 2020

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