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Greens fi ght Ladyman's Stonehenge compromise

NEWS

GREEN GROUPS this week strongly opposed roads minister Stephen Ladyman's attempt to broker a compromise solution for the A303 upgrade at Stonehenge.

Ladyman told the Highways Agency's annual conference last month that he was determined to drive down costs on the project (News last week).

He hinted that environmental groups might have to com romise over plans to build a £470M, 2.1km tunnel if the upgrade was to go ahead.

Contractors are now reexamining plans to put the A303 in cut and cover tunnel or on bypasses to the north or south.

These will be put to a cross-government steering committee in the New Year.

But environmental and heritage groups said this week that they still wanted the original 2.1km bored tunnel.

'We have a duty to ensure that the world sees the UK as a responsible custodian for the sustainable future of a deeply cherished inheritance, ' said English Heritage in a statement.

'The cost review for the A303 road scheme represents a golden opportunity for the nation to demonstrate its commitment to get these things right.' National Trust director of policy and strategy Tony Burton added: 'How we tackle Stonehenge is a signal to the world of how the country wishes to safeguard our most important cultural landmarks.

'Every effort needs to be made to identify a solution that best reconciles the conservation of a site of unparalleled archaeological and cultural importance with modern transport needs.'

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