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Economic Geography of the UK

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, or UK, is a sovereign state located off the northwestern coast of continental Europe. The total area of the United Kingdom is approximately 243,610 square kilometres. It consists of the island of Great Britain and smaller surrounding islands. The UK lies between the North Atlantic and the North Sea, and comes within 35 km of the northwest coast of France, from which it is separated by the English Channel. Northern Ireland shares a 360 km international land boundary with the Republic of Ireland. The Channel Tunnel bored beneath the English Channel, now links the UK with France. Roughly 10% of the UK is forested, 46% is used for pastures, and 25% is used for agriculture.

The economic geography of the UK reflects not only its current position in the global economy, but its long history both as a trading nation and an imperial power. The Industrial Revolution started in the UK with an initial concentration on the textile industry, followed by other heavy industries such as shipbuilding, coal mining, and steel production. The empire created an overseas market for British products, allowing the UK to dominate international trade in the 19th century. However, as other nations industrialised, coupled with economic decline after two world wars, the United Kingdom began to lose its competitive advantage and heavy industry declined, by degrees, throughout the 20th century. Manufacturing remains a significant part of the economy.

The UK led the industrial revolution and its highly urban character is a legacy of this, with all its major cities being current or former centres of all forms of manufacturing. However, this in turn was built on its exploitation of natural resources, especially coal and iron ore. The UK’s primary industry sector was once dominated by the coal industry, heavily concentrated in south Wales, Midlands, Yorkshire, North East England and southern Scotland.

The major primary industry is North Sea oil. Its activity is concentrated on the east coast of Scotland and North East England. The waters in the North Sea off the east coast of Scotland contain nearly half of the UK’s remaining oil reserves, and a quarter of reserves are located in the North Sea.

A closely related industry is natural gas which, since the 1970s, has supplied all of the UK gas needs, replacing poisonous coal, or town, gas. Most natural gas production is in the North Sea, with a small amount onshore and in the Irish Sea. The largest reserves not related to oil production are in the southern North Sea between the UK and the Netherlands, although; the largest reserves, are associated with oil production. The UK is expected to become a net natural gas importer during the first decades of the 20th century.

The United Kingdom is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, G8, G7, G20, NATO, OECD, WTO, the Council of Europe, and OSCE, and a Member state of the European Union. The UK places particular emphasis on its “Special Relationship” with the United States, alongside its century-old Allies with France, bolstered in November 2010 by a new Defence and Security Co-operation Treaty with France to set up a joint expeditionary force, share aircraft carriers and collaborate on nuclear weapons technology. Britain’s other close allies include other European Union and NATO members, Commonwealth nations, and others such as Japan. Britain’s global presence and influence is further amplified through trading relations, official development assistance and its armed forces.


Exercise 7.Match each definition with the correct word. Translate the words into Russian and learn them by heart.

1. manufacturing a) use of land, machinery and so one; receiving or getting benefit, advantages or profits;
2. sovereign b) production or making some goods, articles;
3. revolution c) direct or oblique effect on somebody or something for goal achievement;
4. overseas markets d) independent, separate, autonomous;
5. urban e) something that relates to city or town;
6. exploitation f) lasting or remaining without essential change;
7. importer g) political (and often violent) upheaval;
8. permanent h) individual or organization which transports foreign wares into the country;
9. union i) a number of individuals, organizations or even countries which relate to each other and do as a single whole;
10. influence j) organized and informal trade system according to exact rules which is found abroad.

Exercise 8. Choose the right answer.

1. Where is the United Kingdom a permanent member?

a) in the Commonwealth of Independent States; b) in the National Hockey League;

c) in the United Nations Security Council; d) in the United States of America.

2. What remains a significant part of the Britain’s economy?

a) textile industry; b) mining operations; c) piracy; d) manufacturing.

3. How many square miles does the UK occupy?

a) approximately 243,610; b) about 22;

c) roughly 94,060; d) precisely 360.

4. Where did the Industrial Revolution begin?

a) in textile industry; b) in heavy industries;

c) in coal mining; d) in steel production.

5. What natural resources is the UK’s primary industry sector?

a) gold and other precious metals; b) forest and water;

c) coal and iron ore; d) the sun and fresh wind.

6. What ways of amplifying does the UK have?

a) nuclear weapons and war industry;

b) well-dressed Sovereign and good-mannered Ministers;

c) tasty food and soft drinks;

d) armed forces and trading relations.

7. What links the GB and France?

a) the Industrial revolution; b) the Channel Tunnel;

c) a strain on relations with Russia; d) the Big Bridge.

8. The UK was long known in history both as … .

a) a trading nation and an imperial power;

b) a colony of the USA and a provider of slaves;

c) a conqueror and hospitable county;

d) the successor state of the former Soviet Union and former member of the CIS.

9. What percent of UK’s territory is covered with forest?

a) 25%; b) 10%; c) 35%; d) 46%.

10. Where was coal industry concentrated?

a) in south Wales; b) Midlands, Yorkshire, North East England;

c) southern Scotland; d) in all these areas.


Exercise 9.Fill in the table. Add two more categories for comparison.

Foundation Russian Federation United Kingdom
Land frontiers    
Maritime borders    
Mineral sources    

Exercise 10. Fill in the gaps using the words given below, and translate the sentences into Russian.

mineral resources home market Group of Eight

surrounding islands International law oil

exploitation of natural resources military equipment independence

political and economic situation

1. At present, the … in the Russian Federation is rather complicated because the industrial production is decreasing and the prices are constantly rising. 2. Up to nowadays the Ireland is fighting for the … from England. 3. … is the main part of the economic income of any country. 4. … regulates the relations between different countries. 5. Russia is very reach in oil, iron ore, natural gas, copper, nickel and other … . 6. The most part of the wheat goes for sale into …, and the rest goes into foreign market. 7. The Russian Federation is known all over the world as the country which not only produces the … but also as the state which refines the petroleum. 8. ... is an international forum, created by France, which includes France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, the Canada and the Russia. 9. Not all country in the modern world have a large local arms industry, that is why they have to import … . 10. The UK includes the territory on the island of Great Britain and smaller … .


Exercise 11.Replace the underlined words with the synonym. More than one answer is possible.

1. Modern Governments refuse the aggressive foreign policy.

a) current; b) this ; c) ancient; d) actual.

2. Russian Federation occupies two continents: Europe and Asia.

a) borrows; b) employs; c) is located on; d) stands on.

3. The worker of textile industry began the Industrial Revolution in the UK.

a) finished; b) started; c) continued; d) suggested.

4. The North Sea oil is the main industry.

a) major; b) first; c) dick; d) broad.

5. Russia provides roughly 30% of worldwide weapons.

a) sells; b) produces; c) makes; d) supplies.

6. This country is an active participant of many international organizations.

a) part; b) leader; c) member; d) secretary.

7. The political stability supports economic growth in any country.

a) helps; b) takes; c) bolsters; d) gives.

8. The leaders of the modern superpowers discussed economical crisis at last summit.

a) disputed; b) debated; c) argued; d) agreed.

9. The Minister watches closely the growth of unemployment rate.

a) size; b) enter; c) development; d) increase.

10. The UK has the special relationships with the USA.

a) particular; b) single; c) separate; d) strain.


Exercise 12.Match the verbs on the left with the nouns on the right. Make up sentences with the phrases you have got.

1. to play 2. to share 3. to account for 4. to debate 5. to consider as 6. to maintain 7. to be 8. to set up 9. to occupy 10. to produce a) a large percentage; b) a joint expeditionary force; c) geopolitical status; d) any goods for export; e) an important role; f) a potential superpower; g) international peace and security; h) a permanent member; i) international land boundary; j) the territory.


Exercise 13.Choose the most suitable word in each sentence.

1. The UK led/ruled the industrial revolution. 2. All modern countries try to hold/maintain international peace. 3. The total/whole area of the UK is around 243,610 sq km. 4. There are few countries that have both maritime/sea borders and land frontier in the world. 5. The economic action/activity of many countries is closely connected with foreign commerce. 6. Russia is the largest/biggest country in the world. 7. The wood factoring/manufacturing and paper converting are developing in this area nowadays. 8. Russian lakes include roughly one-quarter of the world’s clean/fresh water. 9. To become the economic benefit/loss you must decline the production price. 10. The UK grows/extends its influence through the trading relations.

Date: 2016-01-14; view: 2274

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