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Road Haulage Association slams motorway Wetherspoon pub

  • 22 January 2014
  • By admin

The Road Haulage Association has described the opening of a Wetherspoon pub in a motorway service area on the M40 as “absolute madness”.

The Hope and Champion, located in the Beaconsfield service area at junction 2 on the M40, serves a range of “locally brewed ales” as well as other alcoholic beverages, soft drinks and an all-day menu.

Kate Gibbs, a head of media relations at the RHA, said: “With the ever-increasing traffic numbers now seen on the motorway network, the idea of deliberately putting the temptation to drink in front of a driver is absolute madness.

“A motorway can be a dangerous place and users must have their wits about them at all times; particularly in poor weather conditions. These respite areas have always operated successfully without the need of an alcohol outlet – why change that? Motorway service areas exist primarily to provide a place where tired drivers can stop safely to take a rest – not a pint,” she added.

However a spokesman for J D Wetherspoon told that responsibility still lies with drivers: “We are a responsible pub operator, but customers have to be responsible too. The police never objected to this pub opening, and you can get alcohol fifty meters away in Marks and Spencer’s anyway. I don’t think we’re putting drivers in danger at all.”

He added that Wetherspoon’s has put measures in place to deter drivers from reaching the UK limit: “Our alcohol prices are far more expensive than they are in any of our other pubs, and the soft drink prices are much cheaper. There are none of the drinks promotions that we run in other pubs, so there’s no signage for them. But the main thing, we believe, is that our staff are well trained and they can make sure that people aren’t drinking more than they should.”

Other organisations have expressed concern over the pub, believing that the temptation to drink and drive will prove too great for drivers.

A spokeswoman for road safety charity Brake, Ellie Pearson, said: “The opening of a pub on a motorway is deeply concerning, as it presents a potentially deadly temptation to drivers. Drink driving remains one of the biggest killers on our road, causing devastation to families and communities every day.”

The Department for Transport’s 2013 annual Road Safety Survey said that nine in ten people agreed that driving over the national alcohol limit was dangerous, however only 57% believed it dangerous to drive after two pints. The legal limit is 35 microliters of alcohol for every 100ml of blood.

By Emma Shone


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