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World Heritage Convention

Decision 44 COM 7B.61
Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated Sites (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) (C 373bis)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decisions 42 COM 7B.32 and 43 COM 7B.95, adopted at its 42nd (Manama, 2018) and 43rd (Baku, 2019) sessions respectively,
  3. Notes the progress made with the new management and governance arrangements, and implementation of the 2015 Transport Strategy, as well as the initiative to introduce Traffic Regulation Order on roads where traffic has an adverse impact on attributes of the property, and urges the State Party to continue finding solutions to address these negative impacts;
  4. Also notes the forthcoming setting study and related boundary review of the property and requests the State Party to submit the draft setting study to the World Heritage Centre for review by ICOMOS;
  5. Further notes the small-scale design refinements, which have been made to the A303 improvement scheme within the property;
  6. Recalls that the Committee has previously noted that the 2018 joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS Advisory mission and the State Party’s own Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) highlight that the current overall proposal would impact the integrity of the intended spatial relationships between monuments, a key part of the prehistoric ‘landscape without parallel’ as inscribed;
  7. Reiterates its concern that, as previously advised by the Committee and identified in the 2018 mission report, the part of the A303 improvement scheme within the property retains substantial exposed dual carriageway sections, particularly those at the western end of the property, which would impact adversely the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, especially affecting its integrity;
  8. Notes with concern that, although consideration was given to extending the bored tunnel and to greater covering of the cutting, as requested by the Committee, it was determined by the State Party that the additional benefits of a longer tunnel would not justify the additional costs;
  9. Reiterates its previous request that the State Party should not proceed with the A303 route upgrade for the section between Amesbury and Berwick Down in its current form, and considers that the scheme should be modified to deliver the best available outcome for the OUV of the property;
  10. Notes furthermore the State Party’s commitment to ongoing engagement with the Committee, the World Heritage Centre, and ICOMOS, but also considers that it is unclear what might be achieved by further engagement unless and until the design is fundamentally amended;
  11. Regrets that the Development Consent Order (DCO) has been granted for the scheme; and therefore, further considers in conformity with Paragraph 179 of the Operational Guidelines that the approved A303 improvement scheme is a potential threat to the property, which - if implemented - could have deleterious effects on its inherent characteristics, notably to its integrity;
  12. Notes moreover that in the event that DCO consent was confirmed by the High Court, the property warrants the inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger;
  13. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2022, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 45th session, with a view to considering the inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger if the A303 route upgrade scheme is not modified to deliver the best available outcome for the OUV of the property.
Decisions adopted at the 44th extended session of the World Heritage Committee
Context of Decision