High Court dismisses Stonehenge tunnel challenge

Aaron Morby 2 months ago
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Campaigners have lost a High Court challenge against the Government’s renewed plans to build a tunnel near the historic Stonehenge site.

The campaigners were challenging the Government’s development consent order last summer for the A303 Amesbury to Berwick Down upgrade.

Previously Save Stonehenge World Heritage Site campaigners succeeded in blocking progress on the project after the High Court in July 2021 quashed the scheme over concerns about the environmental impact on the site.

But the Department for Transport re-approved the tunnel, from Amesbury to Berwick Down in Wiltshire, for the second time last year, arguing the benefits outweighed the harms to heritage assets.

Mr Justice Holgate largely dismissed the campaigners’ latest claim, finding most parts of their case were “unarguable”.

But one part of the legal bid, over the DfT’s approach to an environmental impact assessment, will be determined at a later date, preventing an immediate start to works.

David Bullock, National Highways’ project director for the A303 Stonehenge scheme, said: “We welcome the High Court’s decision and wait for conclusion of the legal proceedings.

“It is a positive step forward and would mean that at long last we can progress solving the issues of the A303 near Stonehenge.”

The three-way European MORE joint venture between Spanish contractor FCC, Italy’s WeBuild and Austria’s BeMo Tunnelling is lined-up as main contractor on the eight-mile stretch of road upgrade.

The FCC-led JV has enlisted Atkins, Jacobs and Spanish designer Sener as the design joint venture.

The main works contract covers the construction of the proposed tunnel’s civil, structural, mechanical, electrical and technology components, including the tunnel boring machine, along with the approach roadworks and structures over the five-year construction phase.

Costain and Mott MacDonald have been awarded the £60m contract to be the project’s Delivery Assurance Partner to help co-ordinate and oversee construction of the scheme.

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