Stonehenge tunnel 'should be beneficial'

Stonehenge tunnel 'should be beneficial'

Sending motorists who drive past Stonehenge through a well-designed road tunnel should be beneficial to the World Heritage Site, according to a new report.

The Government wants to combat traffic congestion near the prehistoric standing stones by building a 1.8-mile long dual carriageway tunnel for the A303.

And it has asked UNESCO - the United Nations' cultural body which designates World Heritage Sites - and the International Council on Monuments and Sites for their thoughts on the proposed scheme.

Their study says that the design and positioning of the tunnel's entrances, embankments and exit ramps could potentially damage the Stonehenge landscape.

But it concludes that robust building controls and a "good design" should ensure that the scheme has a positive impact on Stonehenge.

The report has been welcomed by the heritage groups which manage the site in Wiltshire.

The National Trust, English Heritage and Historic England say putting passing traffic underground would make the ancient site more tranquil and improve the environment for wildlife.

It would also widen public access by reconnecting the area around the stones with a large part of the World Heritage Site that lies on the other side of the A303, they add.

It is estimated that the tunnel - part of £2 billion worth of works planned for the A303 - would cost between £275 million and £1.32 billion.

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