This week brought the disappointing news that the High Court has ruled against the Stonehenge tunnel.

The judgement is not what many constituents in villages beset by rat-running were hoping for, but I am hopeful that all is not lost.

The judgement found that a part of the process to date was flawed, but it has not put forward any alternative proposals to address numerous traffic pinch points along the A303.

More Stonehenge tunnel news:

These plans were not drawn up on a whim but reached after many years of painstaking work to find a solution that was acceptable to the mainstream heritage community but did not detract from the wider strategic aim of the scheme - to decrease journey times to the south west.

I know not everyone is a fan of the tunnel and I get that. I have never been a zealot about any one solution, but I am also clear that doing nothing is not an option.

It is important to remember that the tunnel has never been an end in itself. It has dominated media coverage, but it is just one small stretch of an important road that has been in need of upgrading for many years.

I know from my postbag that a lot of people have their own favoured options – dualling overland, a shallow cutting or rerouting the A303 to the south.

It goes without saying that overland dualling would be cheaper and easier than tunnelling, but the numerous overland options have been examined, re-examined and set aside time and time again for a reason.

A cutting for example, would inflict maximum damage on the archaeology and is completely unacceptable to English Heritage and the National Trust.

They asked for a deep bore tunnel because it would largely pass beneath the archaeology, leaving it undisturbed.

It remains to be seen what the next steps will be, but the views of the custodians of the site and the wider landscape must have a significant bearing.

In all of this, it is worth noting that the most damaging solution of all is the one that is already there.

If we ask ourselves whether a noisy surface road would get built today within metres of Stonehenge, I think we know what the answer would be.

The tunnel aimed to reunite the landscape and reduce visual and noise and air pollution around the stones, while also bringing economic benefits locally and to the entire south west region.

My feeling is that the judgement does not take enough account of the democratic support of all of the local authorities along the route, the benefits to local people and the fact that the A303 upgrade was a manifesto pledge.

I expect the government to respond to the judgement very soon and I am keen to keep an open mind as to the next steps.

At the end of the week, I am looking forward to a full advice surgery, a visit to Bemerton Heath to hear about exciting plans for improvements to the surgery and attending the launch of Salisbury Museum’s latest attraction – the fashion gallery.

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