When modern motorways first began to be built in certain parts of the British countryside, where the existing road and rail networks had been somehow left untouched, nature lovers, conservationists, environmentalists and others made loud and bitter protest. Their  objections to the continuing destruction of the shrinking countryside by the planners and bulldozers of the government ministries fell on deaf ears.

In other words, the objections were not taken into consideration. The latter insisted that Britain was in urgent need of an improved fast-traffic system. Towns needed bypasses, cities needed circular routes that directed heavy traffic away from their already congested centres. Distant parts of the United Kingdom had to be linked up to an efficient road network that would serve the needs of motorists, transport companies and tourists alike for many decades to come.

It was regrettable, of course, that as the road network expanded, more  agricultural land would be swallowed up but there were more important issues involved than birds*, bees and butterflies. It is ironical, therefore, that since the construction of new motorways, there has been a new and exciting development. It is a remarkable fact that in the uninhabited no-man’s-land between the busy 20 carriageways, numerous, unplanned nature reserves have established themselves.


On the unused land, the creatures that the bulldozers displaced – moles, voles, mice and rabbits – and those creatures that live on this land – foxes, stoats, owls and birds of prey – have survived. They have created their own success story against all the odds, and now occupy this new land, which is calm among the speeding lines of traffic, safe from any human threat, and where they live and multiply.

In brief, the construction of motorways has been unable to interfere with the life cycle of wild animals. The wheel, it seems, has come full circle. Former nature reserves of field and woodland, once so fiercely  protected, have disappeared under the layers of motorway.

But now they are on the wasteland alongside the motorways. We preserve endangered species and animal life in such newly-designated ‘protecte areas.’


Mark the best choice.

1. Line 5, ‘shrinking* here means .

a) developing b) getting smaller c) improving d) getting bigger

2. Line 8, ‘the latter’ refers to the .

a) government ministries b) nature lovers, conservationists, environmentalists and others

c) planners and bulldozers d) road and rail networks

3. Line 28, ‘the wheel’ refers to .

a) motor traffic generally b) wasteland alongside the motorways

c) motorways d) the life-cycle of wild animals

4. Line 31, ‘they’ refers to .

a) motorways b) former nature reserves of field and woodland

c) layers of motorways d) protected areas

5. What was the result of the protest against motorway construction?

a) No government minister was available to speak to the protesters.

b) All objections were ineffective..

c) Public protest was not loud enough to be heard by the official planners.

d) Roads were built around cities instead of through open countryside.


6. What, do you think, were the ‘important issues’ mentioned in lines’!5-16?

a) The fact that more countryside and wildlife were, regrettably, disappearing.

b) The need to improve the quality of road surfaces instead of building new ones.

c) The expansion of various cities to avoid traffic congestion.

d) The need for a better transport system throughout the whole country.


7. What has unexpectedly followed the construction of many motorways?

a) Officially planned nature reserves have been successfully established alongside the motorways.

b) Crops can be grown on unused land once the bulldozers have left.

c) Wildlife has learned to survive in the areas close to the motorways.

d) People have moved out of large areas of land, allowing wildlife to return.


8. What enables wildlife to survive in these new areas?

a) The absence of human disturbance.

b) The special living conditions designed by the motorway engineers.

c) The absence of foxes and other wild animals.

d) The warmth created by thousands of speeding motor vehicles.

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