T he building of motorways in the UK began at the end of the 1950s and resulted in profound changes to the cultural and physical landscape of the country. Figure 1 shows the UK’s motorway network today. The photo shows junction 15 of the M1, with the A4500 running into Northampton to the right.
When the UK’s motorways were built, existing roads tend not to be used — the A1(M) is an exception. The norm is for motorways to be laid out through the countryside, often through good farmland as can be seen in the photograph. This divides farms and makes access from one side of the road to the other very difficult. The loss of land for farming is made worse when the motorway crosses an existing road and roundabouts and slip roads have to be constructed to allow access to and from it.
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