The government on Sunday gave its stamp of approval to the construction of small-format gas stations, which were expected to benefit both consumers and the environment. The unanimous vote by the interministerial committee on interior and services "opens up a new era for the Israeli consumer," who would benefit "in the near future" from greater accessibility to gas filling stations and increased competition, said National Infrastructures Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer. Additionally, the new format would reduce traffic hazards, benefit street aesthetics and reduce pollution, the ministry said. On inter-urban roads, the stations would have parking spaces for drivers to take rest breaks. The mini stations would not require construction beyond the pumps themselves, tanks and little roofs to protect them from the elements. Separately, the committee also unanimously approved two measures that Ben-Eliezer said would speed up the construction of natural gas lines. The first prevents frequent changes to the general regulation and reduces waiting times for receiving building permits, while the second lays down the path of the pipeline in the area of Beersheba, removing it from the city itself. Beersheba industry and neighboring facilities would link with the natural gas network through a station to be constructed at the Hatzerim interchange. Passage of the two amendments to National Outline Plan 37 "removes obstacles which could have stalled the establishment of the system conveying natural gas to the country's south," Ben-Eliezer said, calling the natural gas network project "one of the National Infrastructure Ministry's flagships." Within the next few years, all parts of Israel will be able to benefit from the advantages brought by natural gas, he pledged.