My Lord Essex
Old stones and the sea
Riding into history
The folk that lived in Liverpool
So tyger fierce took life away
Editor Mike Pitts
Campaigns and reports from the CBA
CBA at Stonehenge inquiry
The Stonehenge public inquiry is now well underway. CBA director George Lambrick (with other archaeologists) gave evidence, cross-examined the Highways Agency and was cross-examined in the week starting 8 March. At the Winter General Meeting on 26 February he described the situation at that point.
‘The CBA Council’s 1998 statement of principles remains the key guide to our position’, he said. Further development of this position has been publicised through British Archaeology.
He said the CBA is working closely with the Prehistoric Society and the Wiltshire Archaeological & Natural History Society, and liaising with ICOMOS UK. ‘This is mainly a practical matter to try to minimise repetition where we share common concerns and to share some of the workload’, he said. ‘It does not mean that we all necessarily share precisely common positions’.
At the inquiry the CBA had cross-examined English Heritage (EH) as advisors to Government and (via the Department of Culture Media & Sport) the World Heritage Committee. They were asked how far they had tested the scheme against the key values of the World Heritage Site (WHS) and the management plan objectives; about the coverage of cultural heritage issues in the environmental statement (in which they have expressed full confidence); and about their own evidence to the inquiry. The CBA wished to know how far EH had advised government on ways in which the scheme does not fulfil heritage objectives, as well as those in which it does.
‘English Heritage have conceded a number of points on these matters’, he continued, ‘but this is most unlikely to affect their basic conclusion that the permanent benefits of the scheme are greater than the permanent adverse effects’.
The CBA agrees that the proposed scheme has clear major benefits for the area within sight of Stonehenge, and that the current 2.1 km bored option is better than the original proposal for a slightly shorter cut-and-cover tunnel. However, road intrusion on parts of the WHS beyond this area would be made worse, and arguably could never fully be put right.
Although a longer tunnel would cost substantially more, all are agreed that this would deliver more heritage benefits. This raises issues of cost-effectiveness. The CBA is seeking to clarify the unique heritage contribution of £70 m towards the scheme, and how the permanent heritage costs and benefits relate to the 30-year time scale of the transport analysis.
‘The CBA is not promoting any particular alternative scheme’ said Lambrick. ‘We recognise that any final decision will involve balancing considerations that go beyond our expertise’.
‘Like everyone else’, he went on, ‘we are very keen to see a cost-effective long-term solution to the problems of the roads within the Stonehenge WHS as soon as possible. We are well aware that this is a highly political issue; everyone acknowledges that the scheme as proposed has significant adverse effects as well as what everyone acknowledges to be major benefits which no-one wishes to loose. Its effects in both respects are very long term’. The CBA’s main concern is to see that decisions take full account of environmental costs and benefits in relation to established policy standards and the international importance of the WHS. Tax-payers should get good long-term value for money out of the very substantial investment required by any action taken.
‘As for the visitor centre and access proposals’, he concluded, ‘we are still awaiting publication of the planning application and environmental statement.’
Lambrick’s proof of evidence and summary on behalf of the CBA can be downloaded from the Stonehenge page of the CBA website (www.britarch.ac.uk/stonehenge).
Following the CBA’s hugely successful Defence of Britain Project, William Foot has been master-minding a study of key areas where World War II anti-invasion defences in England are particularly extensive and well preserved, in landscapes essentially the same as those of 60 years ago. The fieldwork for this English Heritage-commissioned study, now in its second year, has recently been completed. Its purpose is to identify areas particularly suitable for conservation and promotion of access. Seventy eight areas have been examined of which 67 are particularly worthy of further consideration for conservation; about 25 have been identified as suitable for promoting access through ‘pillbox walks.’ Over 500 miles have been walked to field-check some 750 sites, which, with documentary research, have resulted in nearly 2,000 updates or additions to the original database. A technical report on the project will be followed in just over a year’s time with a full CBA research report and a set of guide leaflets for walks.
Modern Military Matters, a new research framework for the history and archaeology of 20th century military remains, has just been published by the CBA supported by English Heritage.
At the February Winter General Meeting George Lambrick announced that he intends to stand down as director later this year, to concentrate on consultancy work based in Oxford. Trustees were informed on 22 January.
President Francis Pryor said: ‘This came as a considerable surprise. George has done an excellent job as director of the CBA in the last four and a half years. I am sure I speak for everyone in the CBA when I wish him the very best for the future. We are reviewing the CBA’s forward strategy and this early warning helps us all plan ahead. We are currently discussing transitional arrangements and will make further announcements in due course.’
George Lambrick said ‘My decision is for personal and family reasons—I shall very much miss the CBA and remain totally committed to its cause.’
CBA web:Jan/Feb 2005