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Trees a crowd


In response to John Baron's letter questioning the cost of putting the A303 in a tunnel past Stonehenge (NCE 13 May), I noted that his solution of a widened dual carriageway mitigated by embankments and screened by trees was the kind of insensitive solution often favoured by unsympathetic engineers as a concession to environmentalists.

The cultural, archaeological, and hydrogeological issues at Stonehenge are complex. The area is part of a World Heritage Site which extends well beyond the location of the visible stone circle itself.

While sensitive landscaping may have a role to play in the mitigation of visual impact associated with many schemes, it should not be used as the lowest cost alternative to hide ill-conceived and poorly designed engineering projects.

The solutions to the problems at Stonehenge need much more creative thinking from engineers who can respond to the real impacts which the A303 improvement scheme will generate in relation to the surrounding landscape, than simply perpetuating the discredited thinking that everything will be alright if 'we plant a few trees'.

Carefully conceived sustainable solutions do not lie in that direction.

Dr Dick Fenner (M), course director for MPhil in engineering for sustainable development, Cambridge University, 9 Chancery Close, St Albans, Hertfordshire, AL4 9YF

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