The road safety charity Brake has said that the opening of the first motorway pub is "desperately worrying" as it could pose a "potentially deadly temptation to drivers".
Spokesperson Richard Coteau said: "There is widespread misunderstanding about the fact that even a small amount of alcohol has a significant impact on your ability to drive safely, so it’s desperately worrying that some drivers might think it’s okay to stop off for a quick drink on their way home."
"Research is clear that just one drink inflates your crash risk. That’s why our advice to drivers is if you are driving, don't drink any amount of alcohol – not a drop," he added.
To reduce alcohol-related harm, we have to reduce its availability, not increase it. Opening a bar at a service station sends out completely the wrong message if we are trying to prevent harm from alcohol-related traffic accidents.
The AHA believes that a fundamental review of licensing law is required which focuses on controlling the availability of alcohol and reducing alcohol-related harm.
Public health should be a licensing objective in its own right, taking into consideration the total number of premises selling alcohol, of all kinds, and the impact of this provision on the health and wellbeing of the local population.
– Sir Ian Gilmore, chairman, Alcohol Health Alliance
The £2 million development has been given the go-ahead by Thames Valley Police and South Bucks District Council.
As part of its application, JD Wetherspoon said the pub would display notices reminding customers of the dangers of drink-driving, although a spokesman said bar staff would not ask customers whether they were driving.
The real ale campaign group Camra says that British pubs are closing at a rate of 12 per week, and that above-inflation tax on beer is partly to blame.
Lancashire and the West Midlands are most severely affected by pub closures, their study found. Pubs in towns are closing twice as fast as those in the countryside.
Camra is urging people to sign its e-petition calling for an end toabove-inflation beer tax increases in response to a 42% increase in duty since2008. More than 33,000 have signed up so far.
The group's chief executive Mike Benner said: "Pubs are so central to our society that whole communities can grow around a particular pub. A threat to the future of traditional pubs is therefore also a threat to countless social groups within Britain that thrive because of their local."