RAC campaigns for better picnic spots

The RAC is campaigning for an improvement to our road network, but isn't focussing on the state of the surfaces, amount of roadworks or inner city lighting – it wants better picnic spots in lay-bys around the country.

The breakdown specialist has polled its members and revealed what it says are the worst spots on the UK roads to stop for a cup of tea and a sarnie.

Predictably the M25 came out worst, with the stretch between junctions 6 and 15 in Surrey and Kent singled out as a particular low point for thirsty motorists.

The Newcastle stretch of the A1, the whole of the A303, the A14 west of Ipswich and the A9 between Perth and Inverness were the other four roads singled out by the poll of 4,000 RAC members.

RAC spokesman Erik Nelson said there was more to it than just the pleasure of having a bite to eat in a nice atmosphere. "With the threat of the ash cloud continuing to loom, chances are that many people will be opting for UK destinations reached by car," he said.

"The opportunity to take a break and enjoy a picnic in the sunshine on your way to your holiday or day trip destination is a nice idea but there is also a serious safety consideration here.

"Motorists are currently held to ransom by pricey roadside stops on motorways or grim, narrow lay-by provision on smaller roads. It's vital that motorists have regular breaks and these need to be taken in safe, clean and convenient stops."

However, the motorists' service station wish list showed that a nice picnic spot was not the top priority. Decent toilets were cited as the most important factor by 95 per cent of people asked, with cleanliness not far behind at 84 per cent.

Fewer than half of those surveyed (48 per cent) said tables and seating were important, while just 30 per cent wanted a kids playing area.

Should you wish, there is a petition that can be signed at www.picnicwithRAC.co.uk, which will be used to lobby the Government for better picnic stops.

Personally, we feel there are more pressing things for the transport ministers to be dealing with before they look at the state of the swings at motorway service stations.
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