Perceptions of Teletubbyland: Public Opinions of SuDS Devices Installed at Eco-designed Motorway Service Areas

  • Mark Gazzard
  • Colin A. BoothEmail author
Conference paper


Sustainable buildings, sustainable businesses and sustainable behaviours are befitting of modern society. Combining these ideals has been realised in the UK’s greenest motorway service areas (in Gloucestershire) where public perceptions towards the installation of sustainable drainage devices (SuDS) have been studied. Whilst the planning of sustainable drainage systems has gathered momentum (since the late 1990s), it is readily acknowledged that there is a deficit of community awareness and knowledge of the purpose, function and wider potential benefits derived from devices used to manage and minimise surface water. Until there is a comprehensive shift away from the traditional approach of underground piped drainage, blue-green infrastructure will remain a relatively unknown entity for the populace and a concomitant shortfall in demand will be encountered. Therefore, public opinions of the motorway service area eco-designed amenity buildings (green roofs) and their surrounding landscapes (swales and ponds) were sought through questionnaire surveys (n = 86) completed by visitors to both the southbound and northbound M5 Gloucester motorway service areas. Results reveal the public share unanimous support for the eco-design sustainable buildings (designed to achieve BREEAM Excellent), and an overwhelming enthusiasm for the aesthetic landscaping of the sites. However, it was clearly evident that visitors were not forming a link between the appearance of the motorway service area features and their associated role in contributing to the sustainable surface water management of the sites, despite the architect’s design intention for the landscape to be readily understood. It is concluded that a shift from ‘grey infrastructure’ will require the involvement of all stakeholders and changing public perceptions of ‘blue-green infrastructure’ will remain an obstacle until awareness of its value is far-reaching and celebrated beyond the confinements of architectural drawings and planning applications.


BREEAM Drainage Runoff Natural landscapes 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Architecture and Built Environment Research (CABER), Faculty of Environment and Technology, University of the West of England (UWE)BristolUK

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