CAMPAIGNERS opposing the Stonehenge tunnel have travelled to France to petition the government.

Leading members of the Stonehenge Alliance and Save Stonehenge World Heritage Site (SSWHS) took to Eurostar to Paris on Tuesday, September 5, to present UNESCO with a copy of a 225,000-signature petition.

The petition, which was signed by people across 147 countries, calls upon the UK Government not to build a tunnel through the Stonehenge World Heritage Site.

This comes ahead of the World Heritage Committee meeting in Riyadh the following week.

The group is keen to understand UNESCO's reaction to the government's approval of the road scheme as Stonehenge's World Heritage Site (WHS) status could be at risk if it goes ahead unaltered.

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John Adams, chair of the Stonehenge Alliance and one of the three directors of SSWHS, said: “We want UNESCO to appreciate that its opposition to this highly damaging road scheme through Stonehenge World Heritage Site is strongly supported by hundreds of thousands of people worldwide.

"We urge it to remain strong in the face of the UK Government’s indifference to this iconic British heritage site.”

Salisbury Journal: Chris Todd and John Adams waiting at St Pancras to board the Eurostar.Chris Todd and John Adams waiting at St Pancras to board the Eurostar. (Image: Stonehenge Alliance)

Chris Todd, director of Transport Action Network, a member of the Stonehenge Alliance and a director of SSSWHS said it would be an "international embarrassment for the UK" if Stonehenge lost its WHS status.

Mr Todd added: "Only three World Heritage Sites have ever been delisted since the signing of the World Heritage Convention in 1972. The most recent was Liverpool in 2021, which also happened under this Government’s watch.

"To lose one WHS is bad enough, but to lose two would show a failure of leadership and responsibility for both humanity and future generations.”

SSWHS continues to fundraise for its legal action and has raised nearly £50,000 but needs to raise a total nearer to £80,000.

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David Bullock, National Highways’ project manager for the A303 Stonehenge scheme, said: “We remain confident this scheme is the best solution for tackling a long-standing traffic bottleneck, improving journeys, bringing much-needed relief to local communities and boosting the economy in the south-west. Ultimately, by removing the existing road we will return the Stonehenge landscape to something like its original setting.

“It is very much a scheme objective to conserve and enhance the World Heritage Site and this is being achieved through close collaborative working with heritage groups, the independent A303 Scientific Committee, and our archaeology contractors, who have an extensive track record of work in connection with the Stonehenge landscape.

“We have taken a lot of care to get to this point, and we will continue to work with the Heritage Monitoring Advisory Group and experts within the Scientific Committee to ensure the scheme is delivered with heritage and the Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage Site at the heart of every decision made.”