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Friday, 4 October, 2002, 12:33 GMT 13:33 UK
Trust attacks Stonehenge tunnel
Stonehenge
Stonehenge is designated as a world heritage site
The National Trust has condemned govenment plans for a "cut-and-cover" tunnel at Stonehenge.

The trust has instead called for a longer 4.5-kilometre bored tunnel to minimise archaeological damage to the area.

The controversial "cut-and-cover" option for the A303 in Wiltshire has brought protests from the Wiltshire Association of Taxpayers.

It is asking people in Wiltshire to write to the government, English Heritage and the National Trust stating their opposition to the plan.

'National disgrace'

The National Trust's chairman, Charles Nunneley, said a 4.5 kilometre (2.7 mile) tunnel would be preferable on archaeological and landscape grounds.

"But we need to know more about whether this can be built and its impact on the environment.

"The current situation has rightly been termed a national disgrace.

"Our objective is the longest tunnel achievable that protects and enhances the integrity of Stonehenge and its setting."

The trust's council is urging the government to undertake further analysis of the tunnel option to examine its feasibility and environmental impact.

Mystical significance

Opponents say the government scheme would disturb sensitive archaeological landscape, destroy ancient sites and disfigure the wider setting of the stones.

Much of the land involved belongs to the National Trust.

Experts believe the famous stones, which attract about one million visitors a year, were placed there 5,000 years ago.

The stones carry mystical and religious significance for druids and other groups who go to observe alignment with the first rays of sunlight on midsummer's day every year.


Click here to go to BBC Wiltshire
See also:

20 Jun 00 | UK
09 Jun 00 | Science/Nature
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