Stonehenge At Risk: UNESCO Urges 'World Heritage In Danger' Listing

UNESCO, which designated Stonehenge as a World Heritage site in 1986, is now recommending that it be added to the 'World Heritage in Danger' list
Stonehenge In 'World Heritage in Danger' Listing

Stonehenge, one of the world's most iconic monuments, now faces an unexpected threat. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has raised alarms about the potential impact of a significant infrastructure project near the ancient site. The A303 upgrade project, including plans to build a tunnel to alleviate traffic congestion, has sparked controversy and concern among heritage advocates and international bodies.

UNESCO, which designated Stonehenge as a World Heritage site in 1986, now recommends that it be listed as a 'World Heritage in Danger' site. This move responds to fears that the tunnel, despite its intent to improve traffic flow, could significantly disrupt the monument's landscape and integrity. The draft decision from the World Heritage Committee, which will be voted on in July, underscores the urgency of this issue.

Stonehenge In 'World Heritage in Danger' Listing

The proposal has stirred a heated debate. On one side, National Highways and UK heritage charities argue that the tunnel would enhance the site by eliminating the current above-ground road, thus restoring the ancient landscape's visual harmony. They believe the tunnel project represents a modern solution to a longstanding problem, balancing the need for improved infrastructure with heritage preservation.

On the other side, UNESCO and many heritage advocates insist that the current plan is insufficient to protect Stonehenge's sanctity. They argue that the tunnel should be extended to run entirely beneath the site, avoiding the disruption caused by entry and exit portals. The World Heritage Committee's document "reiterates its previous requests" for a more comprehensive plan to safeguard the site's integrity better.

This proposal will be decided at the World Heritage Committee's meeting in New Delhi between July 21 and 31.

About The Monument

Dating back over 4,000 years, this ancient stone circle has attracted historians, archaeologists, and visitors alike with its mysterious origins and purpose. Comprising massive standing stones, Stonehenge is believed to have been a site for astronomical observations, religious ceremonies, and social gatherings.

(With inputs from local reports)

Related Stories

No stories found.
Outlook Traveller