United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

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Temps de lecture : 2 minutes  

Région Ards – Baie de Strangford Lough : littoral – Irlande du Nord © ALTITUDE/Arthus-Bertrand Yann

This country of the north Atlantic Ocean, the world’s 6th economic power, with a population of 61 million inhabitants, gathers Great Britain (England, Scotland, Wales), Northern Ireland, dependencies including the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands, and many territories accross the world including the Pitcairn Islands (47 km²), the last remaining British colony in the Pacific. London, the capital (7,5 million inhabitants) is the headquarters of the 1972 (London) Convention on the prevention of sea pollution resulting from waste immersion.

Issues

International disputes : the borders definition for the continental platform of the Faroe Islands outside the 200 nautical miles creates disputes with Iceland, Denmark and Ireland. The Chagos Archipelagos (British territory in the Indian Ocean) is claimed by Mauritius and the Republic of Seychelles, while the Chagossians expelled since 1965 claim their right to come back.

Water access : in the southeast and the east of England – where it rains ten times less than in Wales – the water level available per inhabitant is smaller than in Morocco or Egypt. The water consumption per inhabitant is of 170 litres.

Nuclear energy : the United Kingdom owns more than twenty nuclear reactors in 9 running powerplants. Even though one British man out of two is opposed to using this energy (2007 poll), new reactors are planned.

Renewable energies : 5 % of its electricity comes from renewable energies and 1 % from wind-borne energy. The CO2 emissions are to be reduced of at least 26 % before 2020 and of 60 % before 2050.

Air transport : the expansion of the world’s first international airport is questioned by Greenpeace’s British antenna, with its “Airplot” operation, for according to them, Heathrow will soon be the country’s biggest CO2 producer.

Waste materials : currently, more than 20 % of the British domestic waste is recycled, but the volume of produced waste increases of about 3 % per year.

Protected spaces and species : there are 9 national parks in England, 3 in Wales and 2 in Scotland, including the Alameda Gibraltar Botanic Gardens. The Turks and Caicos rock iguana is an endemic species ; the Barbary Macaques, the only wild monkeys in Europe, are sheltered in a reserve located on the Rock of Gibraltar. The Saint Helena (where Napoleon was deported) biota is protected.

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