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They might have added: that obligation simply can’t be sidestepped by patently untrue assertions – such as that a mile of new surface dual carriageway across a World Heritage landscape is a modification that wouldn’t affect the Outstanding Universal Value! Or, even more preposterously, would enhance it!

 

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There are twenty of them, each like the one above. Together they could easily house those 60 buses. That’s the scale of ancient features that exist in the World Heritage landscape.

So if 20 massive features like those (and anything they contain!) can lie undiscovered just under the surface, who would risk driving new dual carriageways in cuttings just South of them, in the certain knowledge that much will be exposed in the process but will have to be hurriedly recorded and then bulldozed away forever?

For the answer, don’t apply to UNESCO, it opposes the plan. Apply instead to English Heritage, Historic England, and the National Trust who are straining every one of their claimed conservation sinews to do exactly that.

The Guardian has published a diagram showing the stunning scale of a 4,500-year-old feature found in the Stonehenge Landscape: 20 massive pits in a circle 1.5 miles across and less than a mile from the line of the planned new road.

If that has only just been found, so close, what are the chances something else very important may be found during the works?

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The question arises, would any responsible country or its archaeologists dream of going ahead with the short tunnel scheme knowing that whatever is found will certainly be bulldozed away within weeks?

English Heritage has just issued a statement saying: “We can’t support deliberate damage to historic monuments”. And yet … they DO support massive deliberate damage to the World Heritage landscape surrounding Stonehenge.
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Will they explain to UNESCO and the world how their principle of not supporting damage to historic monuments isn’t applicable at Stonehenge?
Of course they will. The day this happens:
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It’s easy to make the moon appear 150,000 miles closer to Stonehenge.

 

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So it’s equally easy to make a road appear 150 yards closer to Stonehenge.

But is it legitimate for English Heritage, Historic England, The National Trust and Highways England to use cheap visual trickery to mislead the public into thinking there’s a need to inflict massive new damage on the Stonehenge World Heritage landscape in defiance of UNESCO?

As can be seen, Stonehenge is not very close to the road yet some government funded and conservation bodies have used “moonraking tricks” to convey the reverse.

 

 

Highways England’s gloriously named Derek Parody has just used four powerful trigger words to convince the public that the Stonehenge World Heritage landscape is safe:

“The World Heritage Site around Stonehenge is a heritage site of national and international importance. We want to ensure that archaeological remains are preserved and recorded, in advance of scheme construction, by commissioning appropriate archaeological expertise,” says Highways England project director Derek Parody. “Throughout this project we have been working closely with the country’s heritage bodies and a Scientific Committee of eminent archaeological experts to ensure the scheme will conserve and enhance the World Heritage Site, and this will continue throughout the archaeological investigations and the construction process.”

Highways England has gained a reputation for untrue Trumpian superlatives. No-one fair minded can believe that driving a new four-lane dual carriageway across a mile of Europe’s richest prehistoric landscape against UNESCO’s wishes will preserve, record, conserve or enhance it.

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Another long lens visual fib giving an entirely false impression of the reality at the stones. If the pictures are dishonest why would the words be different?

 

 

 

The Stonehenge project is going to be put back by another year. Those who oppose massive new damage to the World Heritage landscape (and that includes UNESCO) will be gratified but they may have much more to celebrate:

Although Transport Minister Shapps wants us to “build ourselves out of the crisis”, the delay may be long enough for him to find the Government’s funds have run out – and the value-for-money calculations have deteriorated.

So the chances of the Government giving him a couple of billion pounds to shave a few minutes off the journey to Cornwall are remote. Could this latest delay be the crucial straw that breaks the scheme’s back?

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How many cups of coffee will it take before someone tells him there’s no money? And how many cups will EH, HE and NT drink while drafting a response to any cancellation? Will they say “hooray, the damager is avoided” or express regret that it can’t go ahead?

 

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Press release from the National Trust

Avebury closed for Summer Solstice

The National Trust have today (Monday 18 May) confirmed that neither Avebury nor its land across the Stonehenge Landscape, will be open for this year’s summer solstice and are asking visitors not to travel to the area.

Avebury: South-west quadrant

The celebrations which take place every midsummer, on or around the 21st June, regularly attract in the region of 10,000 people to Stonehenge and surrounding areas including Avebury.

A spokesperson said: ‘Our priority is always to ensure the safety and wellbeing of staff, volunteers, attendees and residents. This decision was made due to the on-going ban on mass gatherings, and the need to maintain social distancing – still the mainstay of measures to combat Coronavirus.’

English Heritage who manage Stonehenge have also announced that they will not be able to host the solstice at the World Heritage site, to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all attendees, volunteers and staff.

The National Trust has consulted widely with its partners (English Heritage, Wiltshire Council, the Police, Ambulance services and Avebury village community).

The spokesperson said: ‘The National Trust recognise the spiritual importance and relevance of the summer Solstice and understands that this will come as a great disappointment to many but also not a huge surprise given the on-going pandemic crisis and a ban on mass gatherings. We hope that this announcement will be received with the understanding of everyone who likes to celebrate this important time of year and traditional acts of worship.’

Many other live events have either been cancelled or postponed this year due to the ongoing battle against the disease and to limit its spread.

The camping sites, the village pub, car parks and toilets will all be closed.

Each year the Trust works closely with partners through the Avebury Solstice Planning Group to manage visitors who come to Avebury for the Solstice aiming to ensure
the event allows peaceful access for celebrants and to minimise disruption to the village and neighbouring farms. We thank everyone for their understanding and hope to welcome summer solstice visitors back next year.

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Is there one English Heritage which gets a European Heritage award for its superb care for part of the World Heritage site at Ironbridge and another which is defying UNESCO and supporting massive new damage to part of the World Heritage site at Stonehenge?

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Or is it that there’s just one organisation but with two parts – the main part comprising hardworking, dedicated professional experts who do a fantastic job and the other consisting of those in charge who decree that the organisation must do whatever the British Government wants?

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Many readers will recall that back in 2007 NASA agreed to place our message, Hands off Stonehenge, on Spaceship Dawn. It is now orbiting the dwarf planet Ceres, 3 billion miles away.

We are pleased to report that the message seems to have been heeded …

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