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United Kingdom


    • 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

    • Map references:
      Europe

    • Area:

        total area:
        244,820 sq km

        land area:
        241,590 sq km

        comparative area:
        slightly smaller than Oregon

        note:
        includes Rockall and Shetland Islands

    • Land boundaries:
      total 360 km, 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

    • International disputes:
      Northern Ireland question with Ireland; Gibraltar question with Spain; Argentina claims Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas); Argentina claims South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands; Mauritius claims island of Diego Garcia in British Indian Ocean Territory; Rockall continental shelf dispute involving Denmark, Iceland, and Ireland (Ireland and the UK have signed a boundary agreement in the Rockall area); territorial claim in Antarctica (British Antarctic Territory)

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

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

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

    • Land use:

        arable land:
        29%

        permanent crops:
        0%

        meadows and pastures:
        48%

        forest and woodland:
        9%

        other:
        14%

    • Irrigated land:
      1,570 sq km (1989)

    • 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

        natural hazards:
        NA

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

    • 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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