UK news

Stonehenge ‘could lose World Heritage status’ due to £1.7bn road tunnel plan

Stonehenge could be on the verge of losings its World Heritage status, if a planned £1.7bn road tunnel goes ahead.

The news comes just days after Liverpool was stripped of its Unesco status, one of just three places to have the ranking removed in almost 50 years.

Cultural bodies are now warning that the loss of the status for Liverpool would throw a “harsher spotlight” on the UK’s other 31 sites, which include Kew Gardens and the Palace of Westminster.

The UN’s heritage body has told government ministers that the stone circle in Wiltshire will be placed on its “in danger” list if the roadworks take place.

Being placed on the “in danger” list is seen as a precursor to losing the world heritage status.

Stonehenge is a world heritage site

Edinburgh’s new and old towns, the Tower of London and Cornwall’s historic mining area, have all attracted concerns over controversial developments close by.

They could now all be looked at carefully by the United Nations agency.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps gave the green light for the scheme in November, which will see a two mile tunnel built at Stonehenge.

The high court is expected to decide within weeks whether the project can go-ahead following a judicial review.

Stonehenge in WIltshire could be listed as 'in danger'
A controversial plan could put it ‘in danger’

Chris Blandford, the president of World Heritage UK, has said there was a “low awareness at the government level” of the importance of the country’s Unesco sites.

He said many were “critically underfunded” and ministers had shown a “great reluctance to want to make the most of our World Heritage offer”.

He told the Guardian: “These are places of international significance.

Stonehenge in WIltshire could be listed as 'in danger'
The government has a two mile tunnel planned

“They are the best of the best of our cultural heritage.

“At a time when we’re out [of the European Union] and want to be taken seriously internationally, why not use these incredible assets of such significance to help us do that?”

A government spokeswoman said the UK was “a world leader in cultural heritage protection”, and that the government disagreed with Unesco’s decision over Liverpool.

She said: “Protecting the heritage and archaeology of the Stonehenge site is a priority for the government and Highways England and we will continue to work closely with Unesco, Icomos [the International Council on Monuments and Sites] and the heritage and scientific community on next steps.”

Other UNESCO world heritage sites include the Taj Mahal in India, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, Venice in Italy and Macha Picchu in Peru.



 Source link

Back to top button