Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Factors affecting the property in 2001*
  • Ground transport infrastructure
  • Interpretative and visitation facilities
  • Management systems/ management plan
  • Other Threats:

    Risks of collapse

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Need for information on the management
  • Site Museum project
  • Upgrading of the A303 trunk road project
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2001
Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved : 0 USD
Missions to the property until 2001**
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2001

The Secretariat has received numerous letters of concern about the impact the proposed solution will have on the site. The Secretariat received information from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport of the United Kingdom underlying that in order to improve the site’s setting, the Government proposes to remove both roads from the immediate vicinity of the monument. In this regard, it is proposed that the A303 road run through a 2km tunnel near the stone circle, whilst the other road (A344) should be closed and converted to grass. It is also proposed that the present rather poor visitor facilities and car park should be removed and that a new visitor centre (with car parking and interpretative facilities) should be build a short distance away, outside the site. However, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport underlined in its letter that all these proposals will be subject to examination under normal planning procedures and that full consideration will be given to the overall archaeological and environmental implications. ICOMOS informed the Secretariat that it was in full agreement with the proposals and that the cut-and-cover tunnel is a feasible project that will not cause any damage to the archaeology and the environment on the site.

Concerning Silbury Hill, part of the World Heritage site, the Secretariat has been informed by numerous letters that the site was threatened by collapse.  The State Party informed the Centre that the present problem has been caused by the collapse of the filling of a vertical shaft. In May 2000, a squared-shaped hole about 1.8m wide opened up to a depth of just over 10m. This was covered immediately with a scaffolding cover. However, before any plan could be implemented further collapse occurred. Under these circumstances, English Heritage decided to commission a seismic survey, but this was delayed due to the fact that the Hill was situated within an area infected by Foot and Mouth Disease. The State Party informed the Secretariat that appropriate action is being taken to repair Silbury Hill and safeguard it from further damage.  Furthermore, ICOMOS informed the Secretariat that the existence of the pit at the top of the Hill had been known for many years and it was not considered a threat to stability until it began to widen under the impact of the unusually heavy rainfall earlier this year. ICOMOS is of the opinion that both the technical and archaeological problems are being addressed as matters of urgency and that the long-term future of the monument is not threatened. 

Summary of the interventions
This report was not discussed during the World Heritage Committee session.
Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2001

The Bureau may wish to adopt the following decision :

“The Bureau notes the information transmitted by the State Party concerning the planning and the protection of the site of Stonehenge as well as the views of ICOMOS that this will not cause any damage to the site. The Bureau also notes the views of the State Party and ICOMOS on Silbury Hill which is part of the World Heritage site. It requests the State Party to work in close consultation with the Centre and ICOMOS regarding the planning and protection of the site and to present a progress report to the Bureau at its next session in April 2002.”

Report year: 2001
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Date of Inscription: 1986
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (i)(ii)(iii)
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 25COM (2001)

* : The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).

** : All mission reports are not always available electronically.