What we learned this week

Two somewhat obtuse innovations in the paper this week:

First up, planning permission has just been granted for a green motorway services. On the M5 near Gloucester, the services will have electric charging points and source food locally. It will use a fifth of the power of a normal motorway services and fast food will be banned. Perhaps the SUV drivers will be able to assuage their eco-guilt by stopping here rather than at the Little Chef. Something in me is a little cynical about such things, but then again, people aren’t going to stop driving any time soon. The more low-energy, locally sourced businesses there are the better. And I only need to conjure up the ‘eco-lotus‘ sports car to put it all in perspective.

Secondly, a group of doctors has suggested that cholesterol-reducing statin pills should be served with fast food. That way, people could instantly reduce the damage they’ve done to themselves by eating an industrially produced, over-processed meal, like a sort of ‘fat offset’ perhaps. I think this is pretty much exactly what Masanobu Fukuoka was talking about when he said scientific progress ends up just solving problems of its own making.


  1. If I remember rightly, electric vehicles aren’t allowed on motorways, so the electric charging points seem a little pointless. Maybe the law’s changed to allow them now.

  2. It must depend on their size and power. Those tiny ones would be bowled over like tumbleweeds by the passing lorries, but some of them would be fine. Still, do you want to stop for 8 hours at a service station to recharge your batteries?

  3. Kate, ella and I found ourselves at Wetherby services on the A1m not so long ago and they were touting there green credentials all over the shop. Mind you the Burger King queue was long enough to allow time for electric car charging AND enough weight loss to avoid the statin side order.

    1. The best idea I’ve heard for using motorway service stations in an environmentally friendly fashion is to use them as coach stations. It would save hours on a coach journey if they stopped at service stations outside cities, rather than queuing all the way in to every town centre on the route. Passengers for that destination would get a shuttle bus into the centre, and the coach itself could stay on the motorway. Coaches are the most efficient form of transport there is, much better than trains, so anything that would make them faster would be genuinely useful.

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