UK business leader wants tunnel under Stonehenge

UK business leader wants tunnel under Stonehenge

A business leader is urging the British government to give the UK economy a boost by reviving plans to build a tunnel underneath Stonehenge.

John Cridland, director general of the CBI, said reducing congestion on the busy A303 was “vital”, despite the difficulty of bypassing the World Heritage Site in Wiltshire.

“The most significant barrier is Stonehenge. You obviously can’t move it, so why not go under it?” he said.

Similar proposals were dropped seven years ago on cost grounds, but plans are being discussed by a working group that has been looking at ways to reduce congestion on the A303 since the spring.

An announcement about upgrading the whole A303 – which runs from Honiton in Devon to Basingstoke, Hampshire – is expected in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement next month.

A new visitor centre has been built at Stonehenge and an adjacent road closed, but the area remains blighted by massive traffic jams.

In an interview with the Press Association ahead of the CBI annual conference next week, Mr Cridland said investment in infrastructure was one of a series of measures business wanted from the Chancellor.

Security of energy supplies was also crucial for industry, while moves to boost business investment, such as extending tax credits for research and development, should also be included in the Autumn Statement, said Mr Cridland.

He also backed the free movement of labour in Europe, saying that overseas workers were needed to plug skills shortages.

Business wanted to remain in a reformed European Union, said Mr Cridland, adding it was disappointing that so much coverage of the EU was negative.

He called for more British students to spend part of their course in another area of the EU to promote better links between countries.

Mr Cridland said he was optimistic about the British economy, forecasting growth of 3% this year, but expressed concerns about “headwinds” from the eurozone.

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