The UK government has invited service area operators and the general public to give their views on motorway service areas and roadside rest areas as it reviews its guidance for these facilities.

Road users and other interested groups, such as service area operators, are being invited to make their views known as the government reviews its guidance for motorway service areas, trunk road service areas, lay-bys and lorry parks. The provision of picnic facilities alongside trunk roads and motorways is also under consideration.

Views are being sought on such issues as the location of motorway service areas, which should help in determining the need for such sites and the spacing interval between them; the type of facilities, how they are signed and their standards; service areas on trunk roads; and the provision and use of lay-bys.

The long-standing requirement that motorway service areas should not become destinations in their own right will remain unchanged, and there are no plans to introduce any measures of pricing policy at motorway service areas, the Highways Agency said. Instead, this will remain a matter for individual operators.

The government also said that it is not looking to change any aspect of the current policy relating to the sale of alcohol at motorway service area sites. It said that it does not believe alcohol should be available through the restaurants, shops or accommodation at these facilities as this could encourage impulse consumption of alcohol by drivers.

Policy considerations will also be informed by the government’s long-standing policy preventing advertising on highway land.

The review will be in two phases. Once responses from the first phase have been considered, revised guidance will be produced and a period of consultation is planned. The updated policy guidance would then be published in the form of a policy circular.

At present, Moto is the largest motorway service area provider in the UK, offering products and services such as fuel, convenience shopping, restaurants, and even retail malls including such high street names as The Body Shop, Halfords and Marks & Spencer.