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M25 Landscaping and Service Areas

LANDSCAPING

Much of M25 passes through areas of environmental importance, calling for particular care in the alignment of the route. It has also called for the highest quality of landscape treatment to ensure that it merges sympathetically with its surroundings.

The Department of Transport, in addition to employing its own landscape architects and horticultural assistants on M25, received advice from the Landscape Advisory Committee to assist the design engineers in integrating the design into the landscape.

The aim in the design process has been to follow the basic principle of making an artistic choice of alignment and to apply the required standards to cope safely with traffic, endeavouring to take advantage of topography.

For example, contours were followed where possible and not fought, and unnatural features, such as skyline notches, were avoided. Earthworks were moulded to blend in with the existing landscape and used to help screen the motorway and to mitigate noise. Extensive and carefully-planned use of trees and shrubs is essential to make a motorway visually pleasing, and in the case of M25 an average of 20,000 trees per mile have been planted alongside and near the carriageways.

The Department's landscape architects gave evidence at public inquiries on the landscape treatment. This included contouring of the earthworks and tree planting on land within that already needed for engineering purposes, on land purchased compulsorily which was judged essential for landscape treatment, and on land on which it was desirable (but not vital) for landscaping to be provided and which could be purchased by agreement.

However, much of the thought given to landscaping will not be obvious to the traveller and perhaps that is as it should be; the harmony in blending the route with the background may be best appreciated sub-consciously.

Care for the environment has included the provision of special underpasses for deer and badgers, and liaison with interested organisations to allow archaeological studies to be made before construction started.

SERVICE AREAS

It is intended to provide four motorway service areas on the orbital route. Following a consultation paper issued by the Department in 1983, Ministers announced in July 1984 the decision for service areas to be located near Clacket Lane, Surrey; Iver, Buckinghamshire; South Mimms, Hertfordshire and Thurrock, Essex.

Clacket Lane

This site is on the 10 mile length of M25 between Junction 5 (M26/A21) and 6 (A22) near the Kent/Surrey boundary. It is one of the subjects of current joint public inquiries into a number of service area proposals on the south-east and south sections of M25.

Iver

The site is on the five mile length between Junction 151M4) and 16 (M40) near BR's Iver Station. The intention is that the connections to and from M25 should be shared by the service area and park-and-ride for BR. If satisfactory financial arrangements can be agreed for such a joint facility the planning proposals would be published with the likelihood of a local planning inquiry to follow.

South Mimms

This site is in the north-east quadrant of Junction 23 (AlIM)) with access by means of the roundabout. It is under construction and planned to open fully in 1987, under the management of Welcome Break, BP and Deards Ltd.

Thurrock

This site is between Junction 30 (A13) and 31 (A282) adjacent to the collector - distributor road on the east side of M25. At the time of writing, tenders for building and operating the service area are under consideration by the Department. The site is some 40 acres in extent with part of the area having been tipped with rubbish to a depth of as much as 20m.

Additional motorway service areas are planned for certain of the motorways radial to M25 including M20 near Hollinbourne, M4 in the Reading area and M40 at Stokenchurch. The successful tenderer has been announced for the proposed development of a MSA on M11 at Birchanger (M11 Junction 8) near Stansted.