Musings and bookmarks about Stonehenge and related stuff.
Wednesday, 30 May 2018
UNESCO response to the UK A303 Stonehenge Statement
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2018
The ’Proposed Scheme’ for the A303 improvement shows improvement compared with previous plans and would also improve the current situation in the centre of the property. Further investigations and assessments have indicated that the F10 southern surface route option is not viable because of a range of factors, including the priority afforded to impacts on Areas of Natural Beauty and Special Conservation Areas.
The 2018 Advisory mission concluded that the rigorous investigation, evaluation, iterative design and assessment process of the project has revealed that, if the tunnel solution is to be pursued, the current length proposed is not adequate to protect the authenticity, integrity and Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property. The best option (in terms of OUV) would be a surface route, which re-routes the A303 completely around the Stonehenge component of the property, and enables the closure of the existing section of the A303 within the property. If a surface route is not possible, a longer tunnel is needed, which removes or at least substantially reduces the proposed lengths of dual carriageway within the property, in order to avoid the impact on the integrity, authenticity and OUV of the property.
The 2018 mission acknowledged that the eastern portal has been positioned in the least impactful location available close to the property’s boundary, given the constraints imposed by the attributes of the property, other significant sites in the vicinity and local topographic and environmental conditions. However, a tunnel portal much further to the east, completely outside the property, could better protect the OUV of the property from the impact of associated dual carriageways. The western portal location involves an intrusive section of cut dual carriageway within the property. Therefore, if a tunnel solution is pursued, the western portal should be re-located outside the western boundary to avoid dual carriageways within this part of the property.
The State Party and its agencies should continue to proceed thoroughly and cautiously, to ensure that the optimal solution is identified and implemented for the widening of the A303. If the ‘Proposed Scheme’ tunnel option is pursued, substantial design refinement should occur and respect for the OUV of the property should take precedence over any predetermined project deadlines. The decision making processes for the project have not yet afforded sufficient priority to avoiding adverse impacts on the OUV of the property, particularly relative to economic and environmental considerations.
The 2018 mission report includes a logical set of recommendations that provide clear guidance for revising the current proposal, management of issues such as archaeology, sustainable tourism, availability of suitable expert advice, community consultation and the evaluation of heritage impact, noting that the State Party and its agencies have made considerable progress. The mission report notes the intentions of the State Party to incorporate a package of ‘legacy benefits’ and recommends that these should incorporate initiatives and programs identified as desirable to conserve and/or interpret OUV in the Plan of Management for the property.
Draft Decision: 42 COM 7B.32
The World Heritage Committee,
Having examined Document WHC/18/42.COM/7B.Add,
Recalling Decision 41 COM.7B.56, adopted at its 41st session (Krakow, 2017),
Commends the State Party for inviting three Advisory missions to advise on the proposed upgrading of the main A303 road, (which currently bisects the property), as part of a wide major infrastructure project;
Notes the additional investigations undertaken by the State Party to consider the southern surface (F10) by-pass route and alternative alignment and longer tunnel options to remove dual carriageway cuttings from the property, and further detailed investigations regarding tunnel alignment and both east and west portal locations;
Also notes the findings and recommendations of the 2018 Advisory mission, particularly that, although the current ‘Proposed Scheme’ shows improvement compared with previous plans and would also improve the situation in the centre of the property, the rigorous investigation, evaluation, iterative design and assessment process has revealed that, if the current length of tunnel solution is pursued, the damage inflicted by the dual carriageway cuttings would impact adversely on integrity and the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, and therefore the proposed A303 upgrade project should not proceed with the current length of the tunnel ;
Urges the State Party to continue to explore further options and design refinement, with a view to avoiding impact on the OUV of the property, including:
alternative surface by-pass options,
longer tunnel options that allow for the re-location of the western portal outside the property and which do not require dual carriageway cuttings within the property;
Requests the State Party to address the findings and implement the recommendations of the March 2018 Advisory mission and encourages the State Party to continue to facilitate progress towards an optimal solution for the widening of the A303 to ensure there is no adverse impact on the OUV of the property;
Further notes that the State Party has advised that it will manage the timing of the consent and other statutory processes for the A303 trunk road project to take into account Committee Decisions and to ensure that the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and the Committee can continue to contribute to the evaluation and decision-making processes at appropriate stages;
Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2019, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 43rd session in 2019.