A303 Stonehenge approval to be re-considered

Plans to dual the A303 at Stonehenge could be re-approved in 2022 despite a successful court challenge.

The Department for Transport (DfT) granted permission to National Highways in late-2020 to dual the A303 near the World Heritage Site at a cost of £1.7bn, via a new tunnel.

The High Court quashed this decision in July 2021 following a successful judicial review by the Save Stonehenge World Heritage Site group – though National Highways has continued to procure contracts for the schem

National Highways will now re-submit plans to the DfT early in the new year, with local Somerset residents being able to voice their concerns in the coming months, reports Somerset Live.

Natasha Kopala, head of the Planning Inspectorate’s transport infrastructure planning unit, has published details of the next steps (known as a ‘statement of matters’) on the inspectorate’s official website.

She said: “The High Court’s order dated July 30, 2021 quashed the transport secretary’s decision dated November 12, 2020 to grant the application… for the construction of a new two-lane dual carriage way for the A303 between Amesbury and Berwick Down in Wiltshire.

“Following that judgement, the secretary of state must now re-determine that application.”

Mr Justice Houlgate ruled in the campaigners’ favour on two counts in July – the impact on heritage assets and the failure to consider alternative schemes.

National Highways have until January 11 to resubmit the application with formal responses to the issues raised in Mr Justice Houlgate’s judgement.

The inspectorate has not provided a firm time-scale, but it is unlikely that any decision will be taken before late-spring.

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