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The decision goes against the recommendations of planning officials, who warned it would cause “permanent irreversible harm” to the World Heritage Site. Highways England says its plan for a £1.7billion two-mile tunnel will remove the sight and sound of traffic passing the prehistoric monument in Wiltshire.
The Department for Transport said: “The Secretary of State is satisfied that the need for the development together with the other benefits identified outweigh any harm.”
Archaeologist Professor David Jacques said the decision was “gut-wrenching”.
Historian, author and broadcaster Tom Holland, president of the Stonehenge Alliance, added: “ The decision to inject a great gash of tarmac and concrete into Britain’s most precious prehistoric landscape is one that ranks simultaneously as spendthrift and sacrilegious.
“We shall continue to oppose it as vigorously as we can.”
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