The United Kingdom the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, sometimes referred to as Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world; the Irish Sea lies between Great Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres, the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world, it is the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017. The UK is constitutional monarchy; the current monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 1952, making her the longest-serving current head of state.
The United Kingdom's capital and largest city is London, a global city and financial centre with an urban area population of 10.3 million. Other major urban areas in the UK include Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire conurbations, Greater Glasgow and the Liverpool Built-up Area; the United Kingdom consists of four constituent countries: England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Edinburgh and Belfast, respectively. Apart from England, the countries have their own devolved governments, each with varying powers, but such power is delegated by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which may enact laws unilaterally altering or abolishing devolution; the nearby Isle of Man, Bailiwick of Guernsey and Bailiwick of Jersey are not part of the UK, being Crown dependencies with the British Government responsible for defence and international representation. The medieval conquest and subsequent annexation of Wales by the Kingdom of England, followed by the union between England and Scotland in 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, the union in 1801 of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
Five-sixths of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present formulation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. There are fourteen British Overseas Territories, the remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, encompassed a quarter of the world's land mass and was the largest empire in history. British influence can be observed in the language and political systems of many of its former colonies; the United Kingdom is a developed country and has the world's fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP and ninth-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It has a high-income economy and has a high Human Development Index rating, ranking 14th in the world, it was the world's first industrialised country and the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The UK remains a great power, with considerable economic, military and political influence internationally, it is sixth in military expenditure in the world. It has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946.
It has been a leading member state of the European Union and its predecessor, the European Economic Community, since 1973. The United Kingdom is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Council of Europe, the G7, the G20, NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Trade Organization; the 1707 Acts of Union declared that the kingdoms of England and Scotland were "United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain". The term "United Kingdom" has been used as a description for the former kingdom of Great Britain, although its official name from 1707 to 1800 was "Great Britain"; the Acts of Union 1800 united the kingdom of Great Britain and the kingdom of Ireland in 1801, forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Following the partition of Ireland and the independence of the Irish Free State in 1922, which left Northern Ireland as the only part of the island of Ireland within the United Kingdom, the name was changed to the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland".
Although the United Kingdom is a sovereign country, Scotland and Northern Ireland are widely referred to as countries. The UK Prime Minister's website has used the phrase "countries within a country" to describe the United Kingdom; some statistical summaries, such as those for the twelve NUTS 1 regions of the United Kingdom refer to Scotland and Northern Ireland as "regions". Northern Ireland is referred to as a "province". With regard to Northern Ireland, the descriptive name used "can be controversial, with the choice revealing one's political preferences"; the term "Great Britain" conventionally refers to the island of Great Britain, or politically to England and Wales in combination. However, it is sometimes used as a loose synonym for the United Kingdom as a whole; the term "Britain" is used both as a synonym for Great Britain, as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Usage is mixed, with the BBC preferring to use Britain as shorthand only for Great Britain and the UK Government, while accepting that both terms refer to the United K
Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is an area of countryside in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, designated for conservation due to its significant landscape value. Areas are designated in recognition of their national importance, by the relevant public body: Natural England, Natural Resources Wales, or the Northern Ireland Environment Agency. In place of AONB, Scotland uses the similar national scenic area designation. Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty enjoy levels of protection from development similar to those of UK national parks, but unlike with national parks the responsible bodies do not have their own planning powers, they differ from national parks in their more limited opportunities for extensive outdoor recreation. The idea for what would become the AONB designation was first put forward by John Dower in his 1945 Report to the Government on National Parks in England and Wales. Dower suggested there was need for protection of certain beautiful landscapes which were unsuitable as national parks owing to their small size and lack of wildness.
Dower's recommendation for the designation of these "other amenity areas" was embodied in the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 as the AONB designation. The purpose of an AONB designation is to conserve and enhance the natural beauty of the designated landscape by placing it under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. There two secondary aims: meeting the need for quiet enjoyment of the countryside and having regard for the interests of those who live and work there. To achieve these aims, AONBs rely on practical countryside management; as they have the same landscape quality, AONBs may be compared to the national parks of England and Wales. National parks are well known to many inhabitants of the UK. However, the National Association of AONBs is working to increase awareness of AONBs in local communities, in 2014 negotiated to have the boundaries of AONBs in England shown on Google Maps. There are 46 AONBs in Britain; the first AONB was designated in 1956 in South Wales.
The most confirmed is the Tamar Valley AONB in 1995, although the existing Clwydian Range AONB was extended in 2012 to form the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB, the Strangford Lough and Lecale Coast AONBs were merged and redesignated as a single AONB in 2010. AONBs vary in terms of size and use of land, whether they are or wholly open to the public; the smallest AONB is the Isles of Scilly, 16 km2, the largest is the Cotswolds, 2,038 km2. The AONBs of England and Wales together cover around 18% of the countryside in the two countries; the AONBs of Northern Ireland together cover about 70% of Northern Ireland's coastline. AONBs in England and Wales were created under the same legislation as the national parks, the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949. Unlike AONBs, national parks have special legal powers to prevent unsympathetic development. AONBs in general remain the responsibility of their local authorities by means of special committees which include members appointed by the minister and by parishes, only limited statutory duties were imposed on local authorities within an AONB by the original 1949 Act.
However, further regulation and protection of AONBs in England and Wales was added by the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, under which new designations are now made, the Government has in the National Planning Policy Framework stated that AONBs and national parks have equal status when it comes to planning decisions on landscape issues. Two of the AONBs, which extend into a large number of local authority areas, have their own statutory bodies, known as conservation boards. All English and Welsh AONBs have other staff; as required by the CRoW Act, each AONB has a management plan that sets out the characteristics and special qualities of the landscape and how they will be conserved and enhanced. The AONBs are collectively represented by the National Association for AONBs, an independent organization acting on behalf of AONBs and their partners. AONBs in Northern Ireland was designated under the Amenity Lands Act 1965. There are growing concerns among environmental and countryside groups that AONB status is under threat from development.
The Campaign to Protect Rural England said in July 2006 that many AONBs were under greater threat than before. Three particular sites were cited: the Dorset AONB threatened by a road plan, the threat of a football stadium in the Sussex Downs AONB, larger than any other, a £1 billion plan by Imperial College London to build thousands of houses and offices on hundreds of acres of AONB land on the Kent Downs at Wye. In September 2007 government approval was given for the development of a new football ground for Brighton and Hove Albion within the boundaries of the Sussex Downs AONB, after a fierce fight by conservationists; the subsequent development, known as Falmer Stadium, was opened in July 2011. The Weymouth Relief Road in Dorset was constructed between 2008 and 2011, after environmental groups lost a High Court challenge to prevent its construction. Writing in 2006, Professor Adrian Phillips listed threats facing AONBs, he wrote that the apparent big threats were uncertainty over future support for lan
Kent Fire and Rescue Service
Kent Fire and Rescue Service is the statutory fire and rescue service for the administrative county of Kent and the unitary authority area of Medway, covering a geographical area south of London, to the coast and including major shipping routes via the Thames and Medway rivers. The total coastline covered is 225 km; the FRS provides emergency cover to a population of nearly 2 million. The area meets the boundaries of the London Fire Brigade to the north of the county, Surrey to the north west and East Sussex to the south west of Kent; the first fire brigade appeared in Kent in 1802 when the Kent Fire Office formed an insurance brigade in Deptford. In the same year, separately from insurance companies, Hythe became the first town in Kent to set up its own fire brigade, followed by Ashford in 1826. By the 20th century, it was quite fashionable for local authorities to have their own fire brigades. Maidstone had seen the formation of its borough fire brigade in 1901 when the Royal Insurance Company provided a new Shand Mason horse-drawn steam fire engine, named The Queen.
This company had taken over the Kent Fire Office in the same year disbanding their own brigade. Things became competitive between individual town and village brigades, in many instances, each one trying to outdo its neighbour. In 1910, Bromley became the first town in Kent to house motorised fire engines, with two new Merryweather vehicles being stationed there; until 1938, the provision of a fire brigade was a discretionary power, there were a few local authorities that regarded it as an unnecessary expense. However, due to the threat of war, Parliament enacted the Fire Brigades Act 1938 and made it a duty and so created over 1,600 individual fire authorities across the nation, it was these local brigades and the Auxiliary Fire Service – formed in 1938 – that valiantly coped with the consequences of the Battle of Britain and much of The Blitz. In August 1941, local brigades and the AFS were absorbed into one organisation called The National Fire Service, it was in 1941 that the current Headquarters house The Godlands was requisitioned for war-time use by the National Fire Service and it has remained with the fire service since.
World War II brought dark days indeed for Kent fire-fighters. Fire-fighting has been and will always be a dangerous occupation, the Roll of Honour 1899-1990, compiled by Geoffrey Cooper, an ex-Kent fire-fighter, details the deaths of Kent fire-fighters while on duty. Of the 122'Kent' names listed, 15 were pre-1939, 16 were post-1939 and 91 died during World War II. Nationally, well over 1,000 fire-fighters died during World War II, with stories of fire stations and the water supplies needed for fire-fighting being targeted by German bombers, to maximise the damage caused by incendiary bombs; the last death on duty of a Kent fire-fighter was in 1990. The fire service was returned to local authority control on 1 April 1948 under the Fire Services Act 1947, with responsibility in England and Wales being given to the 146 counties and county boroughs of the day; the County of Kent and the City and County Borough of Canterbury combined to form Kent Fire Brigade, taking over 79 fire stations from the National Fire Service.
Subsequent local government reorganisations have had their effect upon the brigade, most in 1965 when eight fire stations in the northwest of the county were transferred to the newly created Greater London area. Further reorganisation in 1974 saw Canterbury lose its county borough status and the fire brigade became the exclusive responsibility of Kent County Council. In 1998, the structure of local government changed again and Kent combined with the new Medway Towns unitary authority for fire brigade provision. On 1 October 2003, Kent Fire Brigade was renamed Kent Fire and Rescue Service to better reflect the requirements demanded of it for many years; these changes were reflected nationally by the enactment of the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004 which came into effect on 1 October 2004. In the spring of 2011, Kent Fire and Rescue underwent changes to its structure, these included restructuring from three divisions to 5 area groups: North Kent, East Kent, West Kent, South Kent and Mid Kent.
Each group consists of a number of clusters, which are made up of a number of certain stations where resources are locally managed. The Letter prefix for each division was dropped in the station call sign, for instance Swanley, under the old system was named as Station S31 the S standing for South Division, now it is just Station 31. Water Tender: P1 Rescue Pump Ladder: R3/P1 Rescue Pump Platform: R1 Aerial Ladder Platform: A1 Turntable Ladder: A1 Swift Water Rescue Unit + Inshore Rescue Boat: B1 Command Support Unit: C1 Fire Fogging Unit: M1 Animal Rescue Unit: R2 Line Rescue Unit: R2 Water Carrier: W1 Water Management Unit: W1 General Purpose Vehicle: T1/T2/T3 General Purpose Vehicle + Breathing Apparatus Support Unit: T1 Light 4x4 Vehicle + All Terrain Vehicle: T1 Personnel Carrier Vehicle: T1/T2 Prime Mover + High Volume Pump: T8 Prime Mover + High Volume Hose Layer: T9 Prime Mover + Incident Command & Control Unit: T1 Prime Mover + Incident Support Unit T4 Detection, Identification, & Monitoring: H8 Incident Response Unit: H9 Prime Mover + Mass Decontamination Disrobe: T9 Search & Rescue Dog Unit: R9 General Purpose Vehicle: T1 Prime Mover: T5/T6/T7/T8/T9Pods: Module 1 - Technical Search Equipment Module 2 - Heavy Transport, Confined Space & Hot Cutting Module 3 - Breaching & Breaking Equipment Module 4 - Multi Pu
Emergency medical services in the United Kingdom
Emergency medical services in the United Kingdom provide emergency care to people with acute illness or injury and are predominantly provided free at the point of use by the four National Health Services of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Emergency care including ambulance and emergency department treatment is free to everyone, regardless of immigration or visitor status; the NHS commissions most emergency medical services through the 14 NHS organisations with ambulance responsibility across the UK. As with other emergency services, the public access emergency medical services through one of the valid emergency telephone numbers. In addition to ambulance services provided by NHS organisations, there are some private and volunteer emergency medical services arrangements in place in the UK, the use of private or volunteer ambulances at public events or large private sites, as part of community provision of services such as community first responders. Air ambulance services in the UK are not part of the NHS and are funded through charitable donations.
Paramedics are seconded from a local NHS ambulance service, with the exception of Great North Air Ambulance Service who employ their own paramedics. Doctors are provided by their home hospital and spend no more than 40% of their time with an air ambulance service. Public ambulance services across the UK are required by law to respond to four types of requests for care, which are: Emergency calls Doctor's urgent admission requests High dependency and urgent inter-hospital transfers Major incidentsAmbulance trusts and services may undertake non-urgent patient transport services on a commercial arrangement with their local hospital trusts or health boards, or in some cases on directly funded government contracts, although these contracts are fulfilled by private and voluntary providers; the National Health Service Act 1946 gave county and borough councils a statutory responsibility to provide an emergency ambulance service, although they could contract a voluntary ambulance service to provide this, with many contracting the British Red Cross, St John Ambulance or another local provider.
The last St John Division, to be so contracted is reputed to have been at Whittlesey in Cambridgeshire, where the two-bay ambulance garage can still be seen at the branch headquarters. The Regional Ambulance Officers’ Committee reported in 1979 that “There was considerable local variation in the quality of the service provided in relation to vehicles and equipment. Most Services were administered by Local Authorities through their Medical Officer of Health and his Ambulance Officer, a few were under the aegis of the Fire Service, whilst others relied upon agency methods for the provision of part or all of their services.” The 142 existing ambulance services were transferred by the National Health Service Reorganisation Act 1973 from local authority to central government control in 1974, consolidated into 53 services under regional or area health authorities. This led to the formation of predominantly county based ambulance services, which merged up and changed responsibilities until 2006, when there were 31 NHS ambulance trusts in England.
The June 2005 report "Taking healthcare to the Patient", authored by Peter Bradley, Chief Executive of the London Ambulance Service, for the Department of Health led to the merging of the 31 trusts into 13 organisations in England, plus one organisation each in Wales and Northern Ireland. Following further changes as part of the NHS foundation trust pathway, this has further reduced to 10 ambulance service trusts in England, plus the Isle of Wight which has its own provision. Following the passage of the Health and Social Care Act 2012, commissioning of the ambulance services in each area passed from central government control into the hands of regional clinical commissioning groups; the commissioners in each region are responsible for contracting with a suitable organisation to provide ambulance services within their geographical territory. The primary provider for each area is held by a public NHS body, of which there are 11 in England, 1 each in the other three countries. In England there are now ten NHS ambulance trusts, as well as an ambulance service on the Isle of Wight, run directly by Isle of Wight NHS Trust, with boundaries following those of the former regional government offices.
The ten trusts are: East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust London Ambulance Service NHS Trust North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust West Midlands Ambulance Service University NHS Foundation Trust Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS TrustThe English ambulance trusts are represented by the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives, with the Scottish and Northern Irish providers all associate members. On the 14 November 2018 West Midlands Ambulance Service became the UK's first university-ambulance trust; the service was operated before reorganisation in 1974 by the St Andrews’ Ambulance Association under contract to the Secretary of State for Scotland. The Scottish Ambulance Service is a Special Health Board that provides ambulance services throughout whole of Scotland, on behalf of the Health and Social Care Directorates of the Scottish Government.
Due to the remote nature of many areas of Scotland compared to the other Home Nations, the Scottish Ambulance Service has Britain's only publi
Bilsington is a village and civil parish in the Ashford district of Kent, England. The village is about 5 miles south of Ashford, on the B2067 road, Hamstreet to Hythe road north of the Royal Military Canal. About of a quarter of the parish is wooded, along most of the northern slopes leading up to the escarpment of the High Weald; the 2011 Census recorded the parish's population as 284. The Church of England parish church of Saints Peter and Paul was built in the 12th century. Above the west door to the tower is some 12th-century stonework. One blocked; the other windows were replaced in the 14th century and include some fragments of original Medieval glass. The west tower was added in the 16th century. Above the chancel arch hangs the Royal arms of George III, dated 1774; the church was restored in 1883 to designs by Joseph Clarke. It is a Grade II* listed building; the Augustinian Priory of St Mary was founded in 1253 and suppressed in the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536. Its surviving buildings are about 3⁄4 mile north of the village.
The Aldington Gang is said to have used the Priory in some of its smuggling exploits of the 1820s. In 1906 the surviving buildings were restored to designs by JT Micklethwaite, they are Grade I listed. The Priory is now a conference venue; the Royal Military Canal passes through the parish just south of the village. It was begun in 1804 and completed in 1809. Just west of the village is an obelisk 58 feet high, it is a monument erected in 1835 to the memory of Member of Parliament and local landowner Sir William Cosway, killed in a coaching accident in 1834. Bilsington has a pub, the White Horse, a Cricket Club. Hasted, Edward. "Bilsington". The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent. 8. Canterbury: W Bristow. Pp. 344–352. Newman, John. West Kent and the Weald; the Buildings of England. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books. Pp. 171–172. ISBN 0-14-071038-8. Page, WH, ed.. "The priory of Bilsington". A History of the County of Kent. Victoria County History. 2. London: The St Catherine Press. Pp. 156–157. Bilsington Parish Council
Anvil Green is a small settlement located near Waltham in Kent, about nine miles north east of Ashford. Media related to Anvil Green at Wikimedia Commons