§ Mr. Speller
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will seek to amend that part of the Highways Act 1980 which prohibits guests staying for more than two consecutive nights in any motel or motor lodge at a motorway service area; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Peter Bottomley
No. The Highways Act 1980 does not directly prohibit guests from staying more than two consecutive nights at motorway service areas' motels or lodges. Under section 239(4)(c) we are empowered to acquire land solely for the provision of service stations to be used in connection with the construction, maintenance or use of the motorway. This means that service areas cannot be allowed to become destinations in themselves. Where, accordingly, the Department consents to the erection of MSA motels and lodges by operators on the areas leased to them, it is on the understanding that guests should not stay more than two consecutive nights. It is not proposed to amend section 239(4)(c). The principle that motorway service areas should be there to serve travellers on motorways rather than be an attraction in their own right seems a wholly reasonable one if we are to get the best out of our motorways in terms of promoting safe and free flow of traffic.