FAQs

WHY ARE YOU SUBMITTING A NEW APPLICATION ON A NEW SITE?

 Following a Public Inquiry last year, the Inspector concluded that a MSA in this location could meet the need and that this would be the most important benefit. However, the appeal decision also highlighted some concerns regarding the western site. Extra have taken on board and reflected on the issues raised. As part of this it is proposed to locate the main service area buildings to the east of the M25.

WHY ARE ELECTRIC CHARGING POINTS IMPORTANT?

The Government is committed to ensuring that all new vehicles sold after 2035 are powered by alternative fuels. This means that over the next 20 years a network of recharging stations needs to be put in place across the country. National Highways is seeking to ensuring a national network of plug-in EV charging points is available every 20 miles on the Motorway Network. Large gaps between MSAs will limit uptake of low emissions vehicles as a result of ‘range anxiety’. Extra is at the forefront of alternative fuel provision on the Motorway Network.

WHY IS YOUR SITE BETWEEN JUNCTIONS RATHER THAN AT A JUNCTION?

Motorway Service Areas (MSAs) are not ‘footloose’ developments as they can only be built alongside the Motorway they serve

Government policy (Circular 02/2013) has a clear preference for ‘on-line’ MSAs (i.e. not connected to Junctions) as they are more convenient to road users and more likely to encourage them to stop. They also avoid the creation of any increase in traffic at existing Junctions.

WHY DO WE NEED A MOTORWAY SERVICE AREA?

Most people will have stopped at a MSA at some point in time. MSAs are important as they provide the opportunity for drivers and passengers to take regular breaks on long journeys, particularly as driver fatigue accounts for 20% of accidents on motorways and monotonous roads (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, RoSPA). Fatigue related accidents are to a large extent avoidable if the appropriate facilities exist for drivers to take a break. Drivers of many commercial and public service vehicles need to take statutory breaks and have other working time restrictions, so MSAs also assist meeting these requirements.

WHY DOES THE MSA HAVE TO BE HERE, PARTICULARLY AS IT IS SO CLOSE TO BEACONSFIELD MSA?

Government policy relating to MSAs is set out in the Department for Transport Circular 02/2013. Policy seeks to ensure that drivers have the opportunity to take a break at intervals of no more than 28 miles or 30 minutes travelling time. If a gap of more than 28 miles/30 minutes travelling time between MSAs exists, then there is a ‘need’ for a new MSA.

On this part of the Motorway Network (to the west and north of Greater London), there are 14 routes where the distance between existing MSAs exceeds 28 miles. Some of these gaps are substantial; with 9 of these being over 40 miles, including 2 gaps of 60 miles or more.

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Based on these distances it is clear there is a significant need for a MSA on this section of the Motorway Network.

WHAT WILL THE IMPACT BE ON LOCAL ROADS FROM THE MSA?

The MSA will only be accessible from the M25. Traffic using the northbound carriageway will reach the MSA via a new bridge over the M25 to a new roundabout. This new roundabout would also serve the southbound carriageway.

Once operational, there will be no road connection between the MSA and the local road network with all vehicles accessing the site via the M25. It is currently the intention that construction traffic will also access the site via the M25.

WHAT WILDLIFE AND BIODIVERSITY BENEFITS WILL RESULT FROM THE MSA?

Extra will seek to maximise wildlife and biodiversity benefits wherever possible. This will include maximising biodiversity net gain.
 
By way of example, at Extra’s new Leeds Skelton Lake MSA development, a new Visitor Centre has been provided in conjunction with the RSPB.
 
Possible benefits associated with the new MSA on the M25 could include:
 

  • New woodland planting to create and enhance habitats whilst assimilating the development into the landscape;

 

  • New hedgerow and other vegetation planting, creating linkages for biodiversity benefit;

 

  • New ponds to maximise biodiversity benefit; and

 

  • Conservation and management of existing and proposed vegetation and habitats

THE AREA IS GREEN BELT AND SHOULD BE PROTECTED FROM DEVELOPMENT – WHY IS A MSA ACCEPTABLE HERE?

This site, along with the M25 and the wider Motorway Network in this area, are all located in the London Green Belt. This means that the only way the road safety and welfare need on this part of the Motorway Network can be met is through MSA development in the Green Belt.

 

Government Policy is clear that in order for development to be allowed in the Green Belt ‘very special circumstances’ must first be proved. It has been confirmed on a number of occasions that where there is a significant safety and welfare need for a new MSA, this can amount to the ‘very special circumstances’ which must then be weighed against potential harm to the Green Belt.

 

Extra has spent considerable time exploring how potential impacts to the Green Belt can be minimised and have reflected on the issues raised at public inquiry. As a result the proposed MSA will serve both carriages of the Motorway, but importantly with all facilities located within a single site situated adjacent to the eastern side of the M25. The developed area of the site has been kept to a minimum whilst also ensuring that the minimum number of parking spaces required by the Department for Transport are accommodated and that vehicles can flow well around the site.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF A MSA?

Most people will have stopped at a MSA at some point in time. MSAs are important as they provide the opportunity for drivers and passengers to take regular breaks on long journeys, particularly as driver fatigue accounts for 20% of accidents on motorways and monotonous roads (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, RoSPA). Fatigue related accidents are to a large extent avoidable if the appropriate facilities exist for drivers to take a break. Drivers of many commercial and public service vehicles need to take statutory breaks and have other working time restrictions, so MSAs also assist meeting these requirements.

HOW MANY JOBS WILL BE CREATED?
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IF THE APPLICATION IS SUCCESSFUL, HOW LONG WILL CONSTRUCTION TAKE?

Based on Extra’s experience elsewhere, construction is likely to last around 24 months.

The application proposals will provide further detail on mitigation to be provided during the construction phase which will be secured by a condition relating to a Construction Environment Management Plan (CEMP).

WHO DECIDES ON THE APPLICATION?

We will consider all the feedback and suggestions received as part of this consultation and use them to help shape the proposals for the Chiltern Chalfont Services. A planning application will be submitted to Buckinghamshire Council.