After more than three years of discussions and deliberations, last week the government approved a development consent order for the £1.7 billion A303 Stonehenge Expressway highway scheme.
Sharps Redmore principal acoustic consultant, Clive Bentley appeared as an expert witness and gave evidence at the public hearings into the project. Using the Natural Tranquillity Method he found that removal of the existing road (as proposed) would result in a considerable improvement in the tranquillity of the area around the Stonehenge site.
However, for improving visitor experience and tranquillity in the main visitor areas around the stones, he found that the proposed A303 expressway rerouting would have negligible impact on the level of tranquility. This is because the main source of noise at the World-Heritage listed site is tourist groups, rather than traffic noise.
This evidence was reflected in the published Examining Authority’s ‘Report of Findings and Conclusions’ —
“Whilst the parties used different methods to assess the level of effect the issue came down to whether by placing the road in the tunnel and cutting the consequential reduction in noise that would result in improved tranquillity to a notable degree. The overall conclusion of the ExA is that tranquillity at the Stonehenge monument would only be improved insofar as the reduction in the sight of vehicles using the current line of the A303 as the degree of noise at the monument itself is heavily influenced by the sight and sound of visitors.”
We are proud to have contributed to the deliberations process for one of the UK’s most historic and globally-recognised public places and that our findings on acoustic tranquillity and noise were acknowledged in the final decision report.
We look forward to working with more high-profile heritage and cultural attractions in the future.
This week Sharps Redmore’s Clive Bentley presented evidence at a hearing into the proposed transport tunnel under the UNESCO-listed site.
Sharps Redmore associate Clive Bentley has guest authored the feature article, ‘How do you measure tranquillity?’ for the latest issue of Environmental Scientist magazine.