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National Highways welcomes legal decision for major A303 upgrade past Stonehenge

National Highways has welcomed the High Court’s decision to uphold the Secretary of State for Transport’s decision to grant the Development Consent Order for the A303 Stonehenge scheme.

The  upgrade will involve building a new dual carriageway below ground, removing the sight and sound of traffic from the Stonehenge landscape and tackling congestion on the nine-mile single carriageway section of the arterial A303 route.

National Highways said it would improve journey times, reliability and safety, as well as unlocking economic growth for the wider South West and reducing the blight of rat running on local communities.

National Highways’ proposals were granted consent last year, following a lengthy redetermination process, and has now overcome a second legal challenge, with one environmental ground yet to be determined.

In the meantime, National Highways will continue to prepare for archaeological fieldwork, civils and utilities work ahead of main construction.

David Bullock, National Highways’ A303 Stonehenge Project Director, said: “We welcome the decision, it’s a huge step forward in tackling the long-standing issues of the A303 at Stonehenge and it represents years of working with our stakeholders, heritage bodies and local communities.

“We will remove the existing road to reconnect the World Heritage Site and restore the landscape to something like its original setting, while the scheme will also tackle the enduring traffic bottleneck, improving journeys, bringing much-needed relief to local communities and boosting the economy in the South West.”

 “The current road is not fit for purpose and the main reason for ongoing congestion is the fact that the existing road simply can’t cope with the volume of traffic – it regularly carries twice the amount it was designed for.

 “The existing A303 also passes directly through the World Heritage Site (WHS) at Stonehenge – splitting it in two and creating a physical barrier for visitors, with traffic impacting negatively on the unique nature of the prehistoric landscape as well as visitor understanding and experience of the site.

“The scheme will be delivered with heritage and the Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage Site at the heart of every decision made, we’ve been working with heritage bodies throughout, and this will continue through the preliminary works and through the main construction phase.”

“We acknowledge the leave to appeal protocols and will work with all parties through the proper legal process. While that process is ongoing, we’ll continue preparing for a successful outcome.”

An 18-month programme of archaeological fieldwork and preparatory work is due to start this spring, preceding the five-year main construction phase.

Wessex Archaeology, an industry-leading archaeological contractor with extensive experience working within the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site, will be carrying out the fieldwork, while Octavius (formerly Osborne Ltd) will undertake preliminary work, including the reconfiguration of local authority roads.

Following this, a programme of archaeological monitoring and recording will take place through construction, and it is anticipated that post-excavation research will continue for several years, to better understand how people lived in, shaped and venerated the landscape over ten millennia.

The work will be overseen and scrutinised by leading experts from across the sector most notably the Heritage Monitoring and Advisory Group (HMAG), comprising representatives of Wiltshire Council Archaeology Service, Historic England, English Heritage and the National Trust), and advised by the A303 Scientific Committee.

In the meantime, further information on the scheme can be found at

For further information on upgrading the A303, people can also log on to

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