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Stonehenge Tunnel Project Opponents Take Their Battle to Court, Media Say

CC BY-SA 2.0 / Andrew Cowie / Stonehenge
Stonehenge - Sputnik International, 1920, 18.02.2021
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The tunnel project was approved late in 2020 by UK Transport Secretary Grant Shappsb who reportedly argued that that the need for the development “outweighed” potential harm.

A group of activists who oppose the construction of a road tunnel in the vicinity of Stonehenge in the UK has managed to secure a High Court hearing, BBC reports.

According to the media outlet, the so-called "Save Stonehenge World Heritage Site" (SSWHS), which is part of "a coalition of groups fighting the tunnel plans", seeks permission for a judicial review of the aforementioned infrastructure project, worth £1.7 billion (about $2.36 billion), due to concerns that said undertaking may have a "detrimental impact" on the site.

The impending hearing is expected to determine whether such a review should be granted, with the hearing date “likely to be set next week”.

"Today's decision means that our client's case and the government's decision-making process will now be fully scrutinised by the courts," said solicitor Rowan Smith, acting for SSWHS.

The tunnel project was approved by the UK Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps in November 2020 "against the recommendations of planning officials", the media outlet notes, with the secretary arguing that the need for the development "outweighed" potential harm.

"We have always believed that the government's intention to build a great gash of concrete and tarmac through the World Heritage Site is a dereliction of its responsibilities, and we are delighted that there will now be the opportunity to test this conviction in a court of law”, Tom Holland, president of the Stonehenge Alliance, said. "We urge Grant Shapps to review his decision and act to conserve rather than vandalise this most precious of prehistoric landscapes."
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