Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Stonehenge road re-think threatens recovery of rarest bird

23.01.2006


Plans to build a road tunnel to ease congestion near Stonehenge could soon be scrapped threatening the government-backed recovery of one of Britain’s rarest birds.



Two over-ground alternatives to the tunnel – set to be detailed in consultation documents due today - would destroy nesting and roosting sites of the secretive stone-curlew. The bird has two UK strongholds, one of which is the area surrounding the Stonehenge World Heritage Site. The new road plans would also harm prospects for more than 25 other bird species and at least 14 types of butterfly.

The tunnel was given the go ahead by the government after a public inquiry in 2004, when ministers called it an ‘exceptional environmental scheme’. But the Highways Agency now says revised costs make the 2.1km tunnel more expensive.


Tony Richardson, Director of the RSPB’s South-West Region said: “A completely new road through the Stonehenge site is unthinkable not only because of its obvious archaeological value but also because of the public outcry it will spark amongst the millions of people who value Britain’s wildlife.

“It is less than six months since we hit targets for stone-curlew recovery both nationally and in the south-west, where one third of the UK’s population is found. Approval for any over-ground route will make a mockery of the government’s desire to get this mysterious and vulnerable bird back on its feet.”

The Highways Agency has raised its estimate of tunnel costs from £284 million to £470m blaming complications that will make tunneling more difficult. A number of alternatives are likely to be published today including re-routing of the A303 over-ground instead, either north or south of Stonehenge

The southern route would destroy two-thirds of the RSPB’s Normanton Down Reserve and split the remainder, reducing its value to wildlife. The reserve is part of the Stonehenge World Heritage Site and boasts Britain’s most important Bronze Age barrow cemetery. The site is also an invaluable feeding ground for stone-curlews before they leave on migration. Last year 19 birds were seen together, using the area as a direct result of improved habitat management.

The northern option would run close to the Salisbury Plain Special Protection Area (SPA), a site protected by European wildlife laws. The road scheme would damage the potential of that land for increasing stone-curlew numbers.

Stonehenge lies close to the SPA, which together with Porton Down and Normanton Down forms north-west Europe’s largest network of chalk grassland. Corn bunting, skylark and lapwing are amongst declining birds using the area together with butterflies such as the grizzled skipper, one of several disappearing chalkland specialists. The harebell and dropwort are amongst thriving plants that are rare elsewhere.

The RSPB believes the government should not consider the northern or southern over-ground routes as viable options and hopes that the review process will lead to the adoption of route less damaging for the area’s wildlife.

Tony Richardson said: “Future generations will thank the government of today if it safeguards the Stonehenge area from the irreversible destruction that an over-ground road will cause. Such a road would be an unforgivable addition to the threats that many species already face.”

Cath Harris | alfa
Further information:
http://www.rspb.org.uk

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Safeguarding sustainability through forest certification mapping
27.06.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht Dune ecosystem modelling
26.06.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA mission surfs through waves in space to understand space weather

25.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Strength of tectonic plates may explain shape of the Tibetan Plateau, study finds

25.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

The dense vessel network regulates formation of thrombocytes in the bone marrow

25.07.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>