Stonehenge tunnel plans welcomed
Long-awaited plans to build a tunnel under Stonehenge, alongside a series of other road schemes in the South West, have been welcomed by business leaders in the region.
Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin yesterday (1 December 2014) unveiled a series of infrastructure investments totalling £15bn, with £2bn of that earmarked for seven projects in the region.
"I've been calling for a tunnel underneath Stonehenge as part of wider upgrades along the A303, a lifeline for businesses in the South West, so I am glad to see it getting the green light," said the CBI's director-general John Cridland.
"It is essential now that we see a commitment from all sides to take this programme forward in the coming Parliament, shifting our focus towards delivery.
"Our recent infrastructure survey showed how important infrastructure is to UK businesses, but with 57 per cent fearing transport links could worsen in the next five years, now is the time for action."
The project to transform the A303 has been described as the "biggest increase of connection for the region since the opening of the M5". It will include a 1.8-mile (2.9km) tunnel under Stonehenge.
Rupert Cox, chief executive of the Somerset Chamber of Commerce, said: "This is good news for Somerset's businesses and the wider economy. We have been calling on successive governments to finish the job of dualling the A303, and now we have the chance to make it happen.
"With excellent road and rail connectivity coupled with the improving superfast broadband availability and competitive property prices, Somerset now has an even better opportunity to promote itself as a great place from which to do business."
However, he cautioned that as the £15bn funding is a ten to 12-year plan, future governments could renege on this commitment.