OFFICIALS behind the controversial A303 Stonehenge tunnel scheme have been invited to put forward their case once again.

This comes after the plans for a dual carriageway and short tunnel through the World Heritage Site were quashed earlier this year following a Judicial Review.

In a statement of matters, published by the Government's Department for Transport today (November 30), National Highways has been invited to make further representation for why the development should be given the green light.

The proposed tunnel is part of a £1.7 billion investment in the A303, between Amesbury and Berwick Down.

The go-ahead for the development was given in November last year, despite advice from Planning Inspectorate officials that it would cause “permanent, irreversible harm” to the Unesco World Heritage Site.

In a ruling on July 30 however, a High Court judge quashed Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapp’s approval to grant the Development Consent Order for the tunnel.

Mr Justice Holgate found the decision to be “unlawful” on two grounds.

He concluded that there was a “material error of law” in the decision-making process because there was no evidence of the impact on each individual asset at the historic site.

Secondly, he found that Mr Shapps failed to consider alternative schemes, in accordance with the World Heritage Convention and common law.

Mr Justice Holgate also noted the Transport Secretary’s acceptance that the road scheme would have caused permanent and irreversible harm to the World Heritage Site.

Following that judgment, Mr Shapps must now redetermine that application.

With that, the latest document asks Highways to submit any updates and information that the Secretary of State can take into account when redetermining the application.

Focusing on the environmental impact in particular, this can include any update on the effects of the scheme on carbon budgets, and direct or indirect effects of the project on the climate and climate change.

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National Highways has welcomed the latest statement of matters, adding the scheme is the "best solution" to solve congestion in the area.

A spokesperson said: "We’re pleased the Secretary of State for Transport has today published what’s known as the statement of matters, which is a critical step forward in helping him look again at the A303 Stonehenge scheme consent.

"This now gives National Highways a much clearer picture of the way forward. We will be working hard to provide the information the Secretary of State has requested, including the information on carbon and climate change.

"We remain confident the scheme is the best solution to solving the traffic problems along this notoriously congested section of the A303 and to remove the sight and the sound of the traffic from the Stonehenge landscape and the World Heritage Site."

The fresh representation must be submitted by January 11, 2022, and the Secretary of State will then invite interested parties to submit further representations in response.

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