We take that responsibility very seriously – that’s why we’ve worked extremely closely with heritage bodies discussing design solutions right from the very beginning of the project. And we will continue to involve our stakeholders as we progress to leave a positive and lasting legacy.
Minimising our impact on the environment – and improving biodiversity where we can – is fundamental to the scheme. Over the past few years, our team of environmental experts has carried out extensive surveys and studies to understand wildlife populations and movements, assessing air quality and modelling noise levels. We’ve also engaged with a host of environmental organisations including Natural England, RSPB and the Environment Agency.
All this has helped us identify how best to maximise the benefits. The design reflects this, including features such as green bridges which will help wildlife cross the new road, landscaping and screening. The creation of an area of new chalk grassland will establish new habitats for wildflowers, bats, butterflies and birds, including the rare stone curlew.
This work is pulled together in our extensive 7000-page environmental statement, which forms part of our DCO application. We’ve made it easier to access this information by making it digital- the UK’s first purpose-built digital environmental statement.
The digital environmental statement contains maps, reports and visualisations – which can be explored interactively online.
Ongoing site investigation
Over the coming months you might see some of our team or equipment in the area. We’ll be carrying out more surveys to find out the most up-to-date details about the ground conditions, water levels and topography. Every bit of information we gather helps garner knowledge about the area and ensures we are making decisions based on the latest evidence and material.
Over the past few years, we’ve consulted widely with local community groups. We’ve listened carefully and made changes based on feedback.
We will build on this – and continue to engage directly with local people every step of the way. Our Community Forum was set up in February 2018. People representing local villages, communities and groups come together with Highways England regularly to share information, discuss local concerns and look at delivering wider benefits. We have an independent chair – Jim Claydon – who oversees Forum meetings and ensures fairness.
We began the formal procurement process in mid July and it’s expected to last eighteen months.
The contract notice has been published in the Official Journal of the European Union. The award of the contract will provide a wide range of opportunities for companies to be part of the project with the successful contractor.
You can read the full contract notice here.
Increasing connectivity to the South West
The A303/A358 corridor is a vital connection between the South West and the South East. While much of the road is now dual carriageway, there are still over 35 miles of single carriageway road. Improving the A303 past Stonehenge is just one of eight schemes planned along the corridor, announced by the Government in 2014. Collectively they are designed to provide a continuous high quality dual carriageway route, opening up the South West.
Keep me updated on the A303 Amesbury to Berwick Down