UK Politics

Motorway service station planning rules may be eased to encourage growth

Motorway service station
The government aims to foster greater competition in the market for motorway services

It should be "easier and quicker" to open a service station next to England's motorways and major A roads, the government has said.

The government hopes that there will be motorway service stations at least every 28 miles in future.

It has launched a consultation on its proposed changes to planning rules.

"We want to encourage economic growth, while reducing bureaucracy for businesses and local communities," Roads Minister Stephen Hammond said.

Under the plans, it would also become easier for developers to get permission to build new access roads and junctions on motorways.

'Appetite'

Mr Hammond said: "I hope that local authorities and private developers will take the time to give us their views on our proposals for cutting unnecessary red tape and make planning decisions easier and quicker for all involved."

The Highways Agency, which is part of the Department of Transport, expects developers and local highways authorities will want to contribute to the six-week consultation.

The AA's Edmund King said he welcomed the changes in principle.

"Whether they will actually make any difference remains to be seen," he added. "Obviously, if they did and there were more service areas, one could argue that there would be better competition, which would lead to lower prices for consumers."

But he questioned whether there was sufficient "appetite" among developers to construct the number of new service areas that ministers hope to see.