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United Kingdom Geography

    Location: Western Europe, islands including the northern one-sixth of the island of Ireland between the North Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea, northwest of France

    Geographic coordinates: 54 00 N, 2 00 W

    Map references: Europe

    Area:
    total: 244,820 sq km
    land: 241,590 sq km
    water: 3,230 sq km
    note: includes Rockall and Shetland Islands

    Area—comparative: slightly smaller than Oregon

    Land boundaries:
    total: 360 km
    border countries: Ireland 360 km

    Coastline: 12,429 km

    Maritime claims:
    continental shelf: as defined in continental shelf orders or in accordance with agreed upon boundaries
    exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
    territorial sea: 12 nm

    Climate: temperate; moderated by prevailing southwest winds over the North Atlantic Current; more than one-half of the days are overcast

    Terrain: mostly rugged hills and low mountains; level to rolling plains in east and southeast

    Elevation extremes:
    lowest point: Fenland -4 m
    highest point: Ben Nevis 1,343 m

    Natural resources: coal, petroleum, natural gas, tin, limestone, iron ore, salt, clay, chalk, gypsum, lead, silica

    Land use:
    arable land: 25%
    permanent crops: 0%
    permanent pastures: 46%
    forests and woodland: 10%
    other: 19% (1993 est.)

    Irrigated land: 1,080 sq km (1993 est.)

    Natural hazards: NA

    Environment—current issues: sulfur dioxide emissions from power plants contribute to air pollution; some rivers polluted by agricultural wastes; and coastal waters polluted because of large-scale disposal of sewage at sea

    Environment—international agreements:
    party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
    signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol

    Geography—note: lies near vital North Atlantic sea lanes; only 35 km from France and now linked by tunnel under the English Channel; because of heavily indented coastline, no location is more than 125 km from tidal waters

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Revised 1-Mar-99
Copyright © 1999 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)