The European Parliament is the only parliamentary institution of the European Union, directly elected by EU citizens aged 18 or older. Together with the Council of the European Union, which should not be confused with the European Council and the Council of Europe, it exercises the legislative function of the EU; the Parliament is composed of 751 members, that will become 705 starting from the 2019–2024 legislature, who represent the second-largest democratic electorate in the world and the largest trans-national democratic electorate in the world. It has been directly elected by the European citizens every five years and by universal suffrage since 1979. However, voter turnout at European Parliament elections has fallen consecutively at each election since that date, has been under 50% since 1999. Voter turnout in 2014 stood at 42.54% of all European voters. Although the European Parliament has legislative power, as does the Council, it does not formally possess legislative initiative, as most national parliaments of European Union member states do.
The Parliament is the "first institution" of the EU, shares equal legislative and budgetary powers with the Council. It has equal control over the EU budget; the European Commission, the executive body of the EU, is accountable to Parliament. In particular, Parliament elects the President of the Commission, approves the appointment of the Commission as a whole, it can subsequently force the Commission as a body to resign by adopting a motion of censure. The President of the European Parliament is Antonio Tajani, elected in January 2017, he presides over a multi-party chamber, the two largest groups being the Group of the European People's Party and the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats. The last union-wide elections were the 2014 elections; the European Parliament has three places of work -- Luxembourg City and Strasbourg. Luxembourg City is home to the administrative offices. Meetings of the whole Parliament take place in Brussels. Committee meetings are held in Brussels; the Parliament, like the other institutions, was not designed in its current form when it first met on 10 September 1952.
One of the oldest common institutions, it began as the Common Assembly of the European Coal and Steel Community. It was a consultative assembly of 78 appointed parliamentarians drawn from the national parliaments of member states, having no legislative powers; the change since its foundation was highlighted by Professor David Farrell of the University of Manchester: "For much of its life, the European Parliament could have been justly labelled a'multi-lingual talking shop'."Its development since its foundation shows how the European Union's structures have evolved without a clear "master plan". Some, such as Tom Reid of the Washington Post, said of the union: "nobody would have deliberately designed a government as complex and as redundant as the EU"; the Parliament's two seats, which have switched several times, are a result of various agreements or lack of agreements. Although most MEPs would prefer to be based just in Brussels, at John Major's 1992 Edinburgh summit, France engineered a treaty amendment to maintain Parliament's plenary seat permanently at Strasbourg.
The body was not mentioned in the original Schuman Declaration. It was assumed or hoped that difficulties with the British would be resolved to allow the Council of Europe's Assembly to perform the task. A separate Assembly was introduced during negotiations on the Treaty as an institution which would counterbalance and monitor the executive while providing democratic legitimacy; the wording of the ECSC Treaty demonstrated the leaders' desire for more than a normal consultative assembly by using the term "representatives of the people" and allowed for direct election. Its early importance was highlighted when the Assembly was given the task of drawing up the draft treaty to establish a European Political Community. By this document, the Ad Hoc Assembly was established on 13 September 1952 with extra members, but after the failure of the proposed European Defence Community the project was dropped. Despite this, the European Economic Community and Euratom were established in 1958 by the Treaties of Rome.
The Common Assembly was shared by all three communities and it renamed itself the European Parliamentary Assembly. The first meeting was held on 19 March 1958 having been set up in Luxembourg City, it elected Schuman as its president and on 13 May it rearranged itself to sit according to political ideology rather than nationality; this is seen as the birth of the modern European Parliament, with Parliament's 50 years celebrations being held in March 2008 rather than 2002. The three communities merged their remaining organs as the European Communities in 1967, the body's name was changed to the current "European Parliament" in 1962. In 1970 the Parliament was granted power over areas of the Communities' budget, which were expanded to the whole budget in 1975. Under the Rome Treaties, the Parliament should have become elected. However, the Council was required to agree a uni
South West England
South West England is one of nine official regions of England. It is the largest in area, covering 9,200 square miles, consists of the counties of Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Dorset and Cornwall, as well as the Isles of Scilly. Five million people live in South West England; the region includes much of the ancient kingdom of Wessex. The largest city is Bristol. Other major urban centres include Plymouth, Gloucester, Exeter, Bath and the South East Dorset conurbation which includes Bournemouth and Christchurch. There are eight cities: Salisbury, Wells, Gloucester, Exeter and Truro, it includes two entire national parks and Exmoor. The northern part of Gloucestershire, near Chipping Campden, is as close to the Scottish border as it is to the tip of Cornwall; the region has by far the longest coastline of any English region. The region is at the first level of NUTS for Eurostat purposes. Key data and facts about the region are produced by the South West Observatory. Following the abolition of the South West Regional Assembly and Government Office, local government co-ordination across the region is now undertaken by South West Councils.
The region is known for its rich folklore, including the legend of King Arthur and Glastonbury Tor, as well as its traditions and customs. Cornwall has its own language and some regard it as a Celtic nation; the South West is known for Cheddar cheese. It is home to the Eden Project, Aardman Animations, the Glastonbury Festival, the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta, trip hop music and Cornwall's surfing beaches; the region has been home to some of Britain's most renowned writers, including Daphne du Maurier and Agatha Christie, both of whom set many of their works here, the South West is the location of Thomas Hardy's Wessex, the setting for many of his best-known novels. Most of the region is located on the South West Peninsula, between the English Channel and Bristol Channel, it has the longest coastline of all the English regions, totalling over 700 miles. Much of the coast is now protected from further substantial development because of its environmental importance, which contributes to the region's attractiveness to tourists and residents.
Geologically the region is divided into the igneous and metamorphic west and sedimentary east, the dividing line to the west of the River Exe. Cornwall and West Devon's landscape is of rocky coastline and high moorland, notably at Bodmin Moor and Dartmoor; these are due to the slate that underlie the area. The highest point of the region is High Willhays, at 2,038 feet, on Dartmoor. In North Devon the slates of the west and limestones of the east meet at Exmoor National Park; the variety of rocks of similar ages seen here have led to the county's name being lent to that of the Devonian period. The east of the region is characterised by limestone downland; the vales, with good irrigation, are home to the region's dairy agriculture. The Blackmore Vale was Thomas Hardy's "Vale of the Little Dairies"; the Southern England Chalk Formation extends into the region, creating a series of high, sparsely populated and archaeologically rich downs, most famously Salisbury Plain, but Cranborne Chase, the Dorset Downs and the Purbeck Hills.
These downs are the principal area of arable agriculture in the region. Limestone is found in the region, at the Cotswolds, Quantock Hills and Mendip Hills, where they support sheep farming. All of the principal rock types can be seen on the Jurassic Coast of Dorset and East Devon, where they document the entire Mesozoic era from west to east; the climate of South West England is classed as oceanic according to the Köppen climate classification. The oceanic climate experiences cool winters with warmer summers and precipitation all year round, with more experienced in winter. Annual rainfall is up to 2,000 millimetres on higher ground. Summer maxima averages range from 18 °C to 22 °C and winter minimum averages range from 1 °C to 4 °C across the south-west, it is the second windiest area of the United Kingdom, the majority of winds coming from the south-west and north-east. Government organisations predict the region to rise in temperature and become the hottest region in the United Kingdom. Inland areas of low altitude experience the least amount of precipitation.
They experience the highest summer maxima temperatures. Snowfalls are less so in comparison to higher ground, it experiences the lowest wind speeds and sunshine total in between that of the moors. The climate of inland areas is more noticeable the further north-east into the region. In comparison to inland areas, the coast experiences high minimum temperatures in winter, it experiences lower maximum temperatures during the summer. Rainfall is the lowest at the coast and snowfall is rarer than the rest of the region. Coastal areas are the windiest parts of the peninsula and they receive the most sunshine; the general coastal climate is more typical the further south-west into the region. Areas of moorland inland such as: Bodmin Moor and Exmoor experience lower temperatures and more precipitation than the rest of the south west (approxima
Tortworth is a small village and civil parish, near Thornbury in Gloucestershire, England. It has a population of 147 as of 2011, it lies on the B4509 road. In the Domesday Book of 1086 the manor is recorded as held by Turstin FitzRolf. Tortworth is noted for its ancient chestnut tree in St. Leonard's churchyard, which became known as the "Great Chestnut of Tortworth" as early as 1150; this tree measured 51 feet in circumference at 6 feet from the ground in 1720. The tree is one of fifty Great British Trees, selected in 2002 by The Tree Council to commemorate the Queen's Golden Jubilee; the Tortworth inlier is the most complete section of "Silurian" rocks in the Bristol and South Gloucestershie area. Old red sandstone is most dominant; the civil parish contains Tortworth Court. It was the home of the Earls of Ducie, but now runs as a hotel. Tortworth Rectory, was part of Oriel College, it was renowned for its library collection, purchased by the Earls of Ducie. There is a national prison nearby, HM Prison Leyhill, converted into a prison from an army hospital in the post-war period.
In 1985 the prison won the Windlesham Trophy for the best-kept prison gardens. Tortworth village website Tortworth, Andrew Plaster, Bristol & Avon Family History Society Journal, June 2007 Tortworth Chestnut on Flickr
Hamfallow is a civil parish in the district of Stroud, Gloucestershire. There is no village centre, the parish consists of farms and hamlets such as Abwell, Halmore and Wanswell; the westernmost portion of the parish boundary follows the River Severn, across, the parish of Lydney in the Forest of Dean district. The other adjoining parishes are all in the Stroud district, these are: Hinton to the north-west. Hamfallow was in Thornbury Rural District until the RDC was abolished in 1974; the greater part was transferred into the new county of Avon, as part of the new district of Northavon but a group of parishes in the north of the district, around Berkeley, wished not to transfer into the new county, but chose instead to remain with Gloucestershire, under the new Stroud District Council. These were the parishes of Hinton, Hamfallow and Stone, Berkeley itself. With the demise of Avon, in 1996, Hamfallow remained with the main county of Gloucestershire. Today, Hamfallow is represented by the county councillor for Berkeley Vale division and the two district councillors for Berkeley ward on Stroud District Council.
David Verey, Gloucestershire: the Vale and the Forest of Dean, The Buildings of England edited by Nikolaus Pevsner, 2nd ed. ISBN 0-14-071041-8, p. 259
Newport is a village in Alkington parish, England. Located along the A38 road halfway between Bristol and Gloucester, it is located about just north of Woodford. It is on a tributary of the Little Avon River, it has a pub formally the white Heart, a closed down motel, a small non-conformist chapel. The chapel closed October 2006 and it has a Georgian Interior with hat pegs and galleries and several broken harmoniums. Prior to the advent of the motor car, when the journey between Bristol and Gloucestershire took a whole day, it was a perfect staging point for stagecoaches at that time. There were some catering for the post; the coaches would have a change of horses, the coachmen and passengers having a mid-journey rest stop
In England, a civil parish is a type of administrative parish used for local government, they are a territorial designation, the lowest tier of local government below districts and counties, or their combined form, the unitary authority. Civil parishes can trace their origin to the ancient system of ecclesiastical parishes which played a role in both civil and ecclesiastical administration; the unit rolled out across England in the 1860s. A civil parish can range in size from a large town with a population of about 75,000 to a single village with fewer than a hundred inhabitants. Eight parishes have city status. A civil parish may be known as and confirmed as a town, neighbourhood or community by resolution of its parish council, a right reserved not conferred on other units of English local government. 35% of the English population live in a civil parish. As of 31 December 2015 there were 10,449 parishes in England; the most populous is Weston super Mare and those with cathedral city status are Chichester, Hereford, Ripon, Salisbury and Wells.
On 1 April 2014, Queen's Park became the first civil parish in Greater London. Before 2008 their creation was not permitted within a London borough. Wales was divided into civil parishes until 1974, when they were replaced by communities, which are similar to English parishes in the way they operate. Civil parishes in Scotland were abolished for local government purposes by the Local Government Act 1929, the Scottish equivalent of English civil parishes are community council areas, which were established by the Local Government Act 1973; the Parish system in Europe was established between the 8th and 12th centuries and in England was old by the time of the Conquest. These areas were based on the territory of one or more manors, areas which in some cases derived their bounds from Roman or Iron Age estates. Parish boundaries were conservative, changing little, after 1180'froze' so that boundaries could no longer be changed at all, despite changes to manorial landholdings - though there were some examples of sub-division.
The consistency of these boundaries, up until the 19th century is useful to historians, is of cultural significance in terms of shaping local identities, a factor reinforced by the adoption of parish boundaries unchanged, by successor local government units. There was huge variation in size between parishes, for instance Writtle in Essex was 13,568 acres while neighbouring Shellow Bowells was just 469 acres, Chignall Smealy 476 acres; until the break with Rome, parishes managed ecclesiastical matters, while the manor was the principal unit of local administration and justice. The church replaced the manor court as the rural administrative centre, levied a local tax on produce known as a tithe. In the medieval period, responsibilities such as relief of the poor passed from the Lord of the Manor to the parish's rector, who in practice would delegate tasks among his vestry or the monasteries. After the dissolution of the monasteries, the power to levy a rate to fund relief of the poor was conferred on the parish authorities by the Act for the Relief of the Poor 1601.
Both before and after this optional social change, local charities are well-documented. The parish authorities were consisted of all the ratepayers of the parish; as the number of ratepayers of some parishes grew, it became difficult to convene meetings as an open vestry. In some built up, areas the select vestry took over responsibility from the entire body of ratepayers; this innovation allowed governance by a self-perpetuating elite. The administration of the parish system relied on the monopoly of the established English Church, which for a few years after Henry VIII alternated between the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England, before settling on the latter on the accession of Elizabeth I in 1558. By the 18th century, religious membership was becoming more fractured in some places, due for instance to the progress of Methodism; the legitimacy of the parish vestry came into question and the perceived inefficiency and corruption inherent in the system became a source for concern in some places.
For this reason, during the early 19th century the parish progressively lost its powers to ad hoc boards and other organisations, for example the loss of responsibility for poor relief through the Poor Law Amendment Act 1834. Sanitary districts covered England in Ireland three years later; the replacement boards were each entitled to levy their own rate in the parish. The church rate ceased to be levied in many parishes and became voluntary from 1868; the ancient parishes diverged into two distinct, nearly overlapping, systems of parishes during the 19th century. The Poor Law Amendment Act 1866 declared all areas that levied a separate rate: C of E ecclesiastical parishes, extra-parochial areas and their analogue, chapelries, to be "civil parishes". To have collected rates this means these beforehand had their own vestries, boards or equivalent bodies; the Church of England parishes, which cover more than 99% of England, became termed "ecclesiastical parishes" and the boundaries of these soon diverged from those of the Ancient Parishes in order to reflect modern circumstances.
After 1921 each ecclesiastical parish has been the responsibility of the parochial church councils. In the late 19th century, most of the ancient irregularities inheri
Gloucestershire is a county in South West England. The county comprises part of the Cotswold Hills, part of the flat fertile valley of the River Severn, the entire Forest of Dean; the county town is the city of Gloucester, other principal towns include Cheltenham, Tewkesbury and Dursley. Gloucestershire borders Herefordshire to the north west, Wiltshire to the south and Somerset to the south west, Worcestershire to the north, Oxfordshire to the east, Warwickshire to the north east, the Welsh county of Monmouthshire to the west. Gloucestershire is a historic county mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in the 10th century, though the areas of Winchcombe and the Forest of Dean were not added until the late 11th century. Gloucestershire included Bristol a small town; the local rural community moved to the port city, Bristol's population growth accelerated during the industrial revolution. Bristol became a county in its own right, separate from Gloucestershire and Somerset in 1373, it became part of the administrative County of Avon from 1974 to 1996.
Upon the abolition of Avon in 1996, the region north of Bristol became a unitary authority area of South Gloucestershire and is now part of the ceremonial county of Gloucestershire. The official former postal county abbreviation was "Glos.", rather than the used but erroneous "Gloucs." or "Glouc". In July 2007, Gloucestershire suffered the worst flooding in recorded British history, with tens of thousands of residents affected; the RAF conducted the largest peacetime domestic operation in its history to rescue over 120 residents from flood affected areas. The damage was estimated at over £2 billion. Gloucestershire has three main landscape areas, a large part of the Cotswolds, the Royal Forest of Dean and the Severn Vale; the Cotswolds take up a large portion of the east and south of the county, The Forest of Dean taking up the west, with the Severn and its valley running between these features. The Daffodil Way in the Leadon Valley, on the border of Gloucestershire and Herefordshire surrounding the village of Dymock, is known for its many spring flowers and woodland, which attracts many walkers.
This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of Gloucestershire at current basic prices published by Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling. The following is a chart of Gloucestershire's gross value added total in thousands of British Pounds Sterling from 1997-2009 based upon the Office for National Statistics figures The 2009 estimation of £11,452 million GVA can be compared to the South West regional average of £7,927 million. Gloucestershire has comprehensive schools with seven selective schools. There are 42 state secondary schools, not including sixth form colleges, 12 independent schools, including the renowned Cheltenham Ladies' College, Cheltenham College and Dean Close School. All but about two schools in each district have a sixth form, but the Forest of Dean only has two schools with sixth forms. All schools in South Gloucestershire have sixth forms. Gloucestershire has two universities, the University of Gloucestershire and the Royal Agricultural University, four higher and further education colleges, Gloucestershire College, Cirencester College, South Gloucestershire and Stroud College and the Royal Forest of Dean College.
Each has campuses at multiple locations throughout the county. The University of the West of England has three locations in Gloucestershire. Gloucestershire has one city and 33 towns: Gloucester The towns in Gloucestershire are: Town in Monmouthshire with suburbs in Gloucestershire: Chepstow The county has two green belt areas, the first covers the southern area in the South Gloucestershire district, to protect outlying villages and towns between Thornbury and Chipping Sodbury from the urban sprawl of the Bristol conurbation; the second belt lies around Gloucester and Bishop's Cleeve, to afford those areas and villages in between a protection from urban sprawl and further convergence. Both belts intersect with the boundaries of the Cotswolds AONB. There are a variety of religious buildings across the county, notably the cathedral of Gloucester, the abbey church of Tewkesbury, the church of Cirencester. Of the abbey of Hailes near Winchcombe, founded by Richard, Earl of Cornwall, in 1246, little more than the foundations are left, but these have been excavated and fragments have been brought to light.
Most of the old market towns have parish churches. At Deerhurst near Tewkesbury and Bishop's Cleeve near Cheltenham, there are churches of special interest on account of the pre-Norman work they retain. There is a Perpendicular church in Lechlade, that at Fairford was built, according to tradition, to contain a series of stained-glass windows which are said to have been brought from the Netherlands; these are, adjudged to be of English workmanship. Other notable buildings include Calcot Barn in a relic of Kingswood Abbey. Thornbury Castle is a Tudor country house, the pretensio