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Stonehenge and its Environs


RSPB warn against tunnel alternatives

The RSPB says that the two proposed overground routes would destroy nesting and roosting sites of the stone curlew, which only has two UK strongholds.

"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.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
23rd January 2006ce
Edited 10th February 2006ce

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