Copper has been appointed to provide specialist strategic communications and engagement advice to Highways England for the A303 Stonehenge scheme, helping to articulate the project’s legacy and demonstrate Highways England’s capability as a world-leading infrastructure developer.
The £1.7bn project will transform the A303 past Stonehenge and help improve a road that currently does not work for drivers, people who live, work and holiday in Wiltshire and the South West and for anyone who cares about the Stonehenge World Heritage Site.
Building on the support Copper provides to clients during the earlier planning stages, the A303 Stonehenge adds to Copper’s ever-growing portfolio of construction projects, including National Grid’s Hinkley Point C Connection, LMJV delivering HS2 Area North’s engagement works, Triton Knoll Offshore Wind Farm and a major investment gas mains replacement programme for Cadent.
Copper will draw on its experience of delivering many high-profile infrastructure planning and construction projects, helping to explain their benefits, build understanding and support for the need case, often in challenging political, social and environmental situations. The team will work alongside Highways England as the scheme moves through the consent period into preliminary works and construction.
Sarah Walker, Communications and Engagement Lead for Complex Infrastructure at Highways England, said: “As we enter the next stages, we will start to realise the project’s legacy, going beyond just building a road, and unlocking benefits for anyone interested in Stonehenge, local communities, visitors to the region and road users in general. Copper’s track record and experience of delivering major projects will be invaluable for ensuring that local communities and our stakeholders feel a sense of pride and ownership as the project becomes a reality.”
Annabel John, Director of Communications and Engagement at Copper Consultancy, said: “The opportunity to continue to work with Highways England on this truly unique project is really exciting for Copper and we are delighted to help the project transition from the planning stages into construction. This stage of the project will present new challenges and opportunities and we are committed to working alongside Highways England to ensure that communities, stakeholders and customers remain at the project’s heart.”
Copper has supported the A303 Stonehenge project since 2016, first working alongside Arup and Atkins, and then with AECOM, Mace and WSP, to develop communications and engagement strategies to support the project through the DCO pre-application and examination stages.
Sarah added: “The Copper team has brought experience of many major projects to the table to help us deliver the stakeholder engagement, communications and public consultation strategies and plans for the A303 Stonehenge scheme. They have delivered with energy, enthusiasm and expertise, producing research, content and ideas, often at short notice and always with a creative flair. They have become an invaluable part of our team.”