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Stonehenge The Sleepy Hollow of transport policy

Members of the Freight Transport Association (FTA) in the South West continue to call on the Government to make a decision regarding improvements to the A303 in the area of Stonehenge in order to benefit both the efficiency of this major trade route and the preservation of the historic monument. Despite the importance of the project and the fact that following a public inquiry in 2004, the inspector recommended a new dual carriageway which would include a 2.1km long bored tunnel in order to remove the effects of the road and its traffic on the prehistoric site, there has been no progress. In 2005 the then Secretary of State for Transport Alistair Darling announced a further review, the findings of which would be considered by a cross-Government Steering Group. Since then, nothing.

FTA's Regional Policy Manager for the South West, Ian Gallagher, said, 'Stonehenge is one of Britain's treasures and it is flanked by a highly important trade route, the A303. We have all waited far too long for a decision on what is to be done to mitigate the visual intrusion at this world heritage site, and to improve the quality of this essential economic route to the South West of England.

'FTA, and its members using the road, urge new Secretary of State Ruth Kelly to expedite a decision for which all interested parties have waited too long. If our prehistoric ancestors could construct something as complex and inspiring as Stonehenge, then why is it so difficult for our 21st century Government to provide us with a bypass which would benefit both environment and economy?

'Since 1991 there have been over 50 alternative routes for the bypass considered. A decision is now urgent. All the time the Government delays in making its mind up the cost of the project increases, as do the costs to industry of the continuing delays on the A303. Whichever route is finally decided on, let's get on with it.'

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