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In guiding a distinguished visitor around the Stonehenge World Heritage Site, English Heritage appears to have been highly selective with their information.

In his recent Telegraph (£) article Sir Tim Laurence states:

‘Will the work at the Amesbury end interfere with the drainage affecting other historic sites? Construction engineers are certain that it will not.’

Whereas:

Apart from the increases in noise and air pollution, rainwater running off the proposed flyover at the Amesbury will carry pollutants that will contaminate the land, paleochannel and spring at Blick Mead. The tunnel will furthermore act as an underground dam which will impact on the water table, with potential to threaten the survival of vulnerable evidence trapped in sediments. What construction engineers employed by the developer are certain of isn’t relevant.

Sir Tim Laurence states:

‘Sir Simon Jenkins, that great champion of Britain’s heritage, has suggested that English Heritage will benefit financially from the tunnel. He is completely wrong about this.’

Whereas:

Without the income from a captive paying public at Stonehenge the future of the charity is insecure, English Heritage is wholly reliant on this income stream that in the short term the tunnel may ensure. The need for this income stream was not denied by the CEO of English Heritage in responding to this charge in recent letters to The Times and the Guardian.

Sir Tim Laurence states:

‘People will be able to walk around the majority of the site in peace and quiet as they would have done for thousands of years before modern roads destroyed the setting.’

Whereas:

The majority of the World Heritage Site is privately owned and will remain so, there will be no public access to this land. The peace and quiet paying visitors enjoy will still include the sounds of military helicopters, artillery firing practice, and the throb of English Heritage’s tourist buses.

Sir Tim Laurence states:

‘One cannot have everything in life.’

Whereas:

True, but the public can surely expect a decision on this fundamental symbol of our heritage to be based on an independent Planning Inspectorate’s recommendation.

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