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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
water: 3,230 sq km
note: includes Rockall and Shetland Islands
land: 241,590 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than Oregon
Land boundaries:
total: 360 km
border countries: Ireland 360 km
Coastline:
12,429 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: as defined in continental shelf orders or in accordance with agreed upon boundaries
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: The Fens -4 m
highest point: Ben Nevis 1,343 m
Natural resources:
coal, petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, lead, zinc, gold, tin, limestone, salt, clay, chalk, gypsum, potash, silica sand, slate, arable land
Land use:
arable land: 23.46%
permanent crops: 0.21%
other: 76.33% (2001)
Irrigated land:
1,080 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
winter windstorms; floods
Environment - current issues:
continues to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (has met Kyoto Protocol target of a 12.5% reduction from 1990 levels and intends to meet the legally binding target and move towards a domestic goal of a 20% cut in emissions by 2010); by 2005 the government aims to reduce the amount of industrial and commercial waste disposed of in landfill sites to 85% of 1998 levels and to recycle or compost at least 25% of household waste, increasing to 33% by 2015; between 1998-99 and 1999-2000, household recycling increased from 8.8% to 10.3%
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants
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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