Who? Andrew Wiseman, general counsel and corporate secretary, Historic England. 


Why is he in the news? The High Court this week dismissed a challenge brought by campaigners against renewed plans to build a tunnel near Stonehenge. Historic England was an interested party in the judicial review.

Thoughts on the case: ‘This has been a long-running saga which has seen numerous political and legal challenges. After years of uncertainty, we are pleased that progress has been made to deliver the A303 Stonehenge Improvement Scheme. This is the second challenge to the secretary of state’s decision and this one involved a huge amount of paperwork and eight separate grounds of challenge, one of which was stayed pending a decision by the Court of Appeal in another case.

‘Historic England was particularly focused on the heritage issues and the importance of the World Heritage Site. Hopefully this decision brings us one step closer to restoring an internationally important landscape, which has been choked by the traffic of the A303 for decades. Putting much of the A303 into a tunnel some distance from Stonehenge is right for the World Heritage Site. This scheme would create a much longer tunnel than previously consented schemes.

‘We had excellent support throughout the process from our in-house legal team and external lawyers. It was also a really good example of a multi-disciplinary team working together.’

Dealing with the media: ‘There has been a tremendous amount of media interest, mainly driven by the fact that Stonehenge is an internationally recognised iconic site. It has helped having an excellent in-house media team who have been superb through the process.’

Why become a lawyer? ‘I was always interested in the law and worked for a firm getting work experience in summer holidays. I was always interested in environmental and planning law so became increasingly specialised before making the move in-house as general counsel with Historic England.’

Career high: ‘Appearing in front of the European Court of Justice on behalf of an Italian company in what at the time was the leading definition of waste case. Although the real highlight was having to spend five days in Rome taking instructions and sampling the cuisine.’

Career low: ‘While working on a large corporate transaction getting a call waking me up at 2am from the client who “wanted to check I had my phone on in case I was needed”. I wasn’t needed.’