Public asked for verdict on Stonehenge road debate open to public

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The Independent Online
MORE THAN a year after the Government announced its intentions for the management of Stonehenge, members of the public will be able to comment on the plans. A draft goes on show at Amesbury, Wiltshire, today and tomorrow and people will have until the end of October to give their opinions.

Although the Government and conservationists agree the World Heritage Site must be protected, there has been opposition to plans from environmental campaigners. This summer the Government said its preferred option was a cut-and-cover tunnel near the stones and a dual carriageway past the site. It also wants to build a visitor centre outside the boundary.

But at least 10 organisations, including Friends of the Earth, Transport 2000, and the Council for the Protection of Rural England want a long- bore tunnel to hide the road near the stones, which, although more expensive, could be built without disturbing the landscape. They have accused the Government of trying to push through a cheaper option, and say the entrance and exit of the 2km tunnel would be within the site.

Lady Gass, the chairwoman of the Stonehenge World Heritage Site Management Group, said: "Over three-quarters of a million people visit Stonehenge every year, and have to make do with woefully inadequate facilities.

"The monument is blighted by the noise, sight and fumes of traffic on the busy A303 and A344, which cut across the landscape, and by the car park. Instead of a national treasure we have a national disgrace."