§ Mr. Amos
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he will make a statement on his policy towards the location and development of motorway service areas by the private sector;
(2) if he will make it his policy to allow the private sector to take responsibility for the location and development of motorway service areas; and if he will make a statement;
(3) what representations he has received from the major oil companies regarding the development of motorway service areas; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Atkins
Representations have been made by certain oil companies that the initiative should be left with them to identify, seek planning clearance for, and obtain ownership of sites for new motorway service areas. The current general policy is for the Department itself to identify sites, usually on the basis of a private consultant's study, and itself to seek planning clearance and ownership, and to market the right to provide services there by competitive tender. The aim of this policy is to ensure the satisfactory choice, development and continued operation of sites, primarily from the point of view of road safety and traffic management considerations, to promote competition between operators in the interests of consumer choice and satisfaction, and to ensure an adequate return to the Exchequer by way of premium for the right to provide services at key locations on the motorway network.
There are no present proposals to change this policy. It will however be kept under review in the light of experience and representations made.