TODAY as we are introduced to another “consultation” on the A303 for a £2bn Stonehenge tunnel, can I make a plea to readers to seriously consider the implications of what is being proposed.

If its ever built, a new A303 expressway would sit 8m above Amesbury, lit up at night, providing a constant drone of traffic noise for local residents.

When closed for an accident, breakdown, regular maintenance, or heaven forbid, a terrorist attack? the local road network would be gridlocked and the traffic would have no option but to divert at Solstice Park or Wylye. Despite all the promises made, the reality is Codford, Chitterne, Shrewton, Larkhill, Bulford, Amesbury and Stapleford, Stoford and the Woodford Valley will all suffer huge volumes of traffic.

It has been clear from the lack of two way local consultation from day one, that this is not really about easing the traffic flow in any other roads around South Wiltshire nor supporting the local economy, the tunnel element is primarily about spending £2bn to remove the 5000 year old free view of Stonehenge. You will note that there was never a consultation that asked if we supported a tunnel or a bypass?

A tunnel will do nothing but harm the World Heritage Site. Vast quantities concrete poured into the landscape will create a self-destructing time bomb of desecration to the chalk land aquifers and play havoc with the water tables and fissures known to be in the landscape. The river Avon would be put at risk as will Salisbury Cathedral, Britain’s greatest mediaeval stone structure, which sits on a daily measured wet gravel foundation, fed from these waters.

Any proposed tunnel for Stonehenge would have mind-blowing running costs for its relatively short life. Lighting, air conditioning, pollution control, fire proofing, ventilation, security, CCTV, breakdown services all add up to colossal running costs.

We were told that the tunnel will not be a permanent solution, designed for 125 years and then we start all over again, with the bigger headache of dealing with what’s left in the ground.

Please have your say – Stonehenge and Salisbury needs a better solution than this. If we don’t object now and a bypass is not reconsidered, Salisbury will eventually grind to a halt and the World Heritage Site, Amesbury and its secret treasure trove that should be supporting our economy, not just English Heritage’s will be irretrievably destroyed. Our descendant’s won’t thank us if we miss this opportunity to get our infrastructure right and regenerate South Wiltshire as well as the West Country.

Andy Rhind-Tutt President, Salisbury & District Chamber of Commerce Former Mayor of Amesbury