asked the Minister of Transport what is his policy for the development of new motorway service areas.
I have accepted the recommendation of the Prior committee of inquiry into motorway service areas that my Department should abandon its policy of siting MSAs at 25-mile intervals in favour of a more flexible approach of deciding each case on its merits. I would not normally expect gaps of more than the maximum of about 30 miles recommended by the committee, but I recognise that there may be exceptional circumstances where a longer interval might be acceptable.The first priority in my development programme will therefore be to look at the gaps of more than 30 miles in the existing and planned motorway network. But I am ready to consider the development of additional sites in the light of the adequacy of services at adjacent existing MSAs and the benefit the consumer will gain from greater variety and choice.Future sites will be offered for development to private companies on the same terms that are being offered to existing MSA operators. These companies would be fully responsible for developing the sites and for obtaining detailed planning permission.