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
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
Chipping Sodbury railway station
Chipping Sodbury railway station was a railway station on the South Wales Main Line serving the town of Chipping Sodbury in Gloucestershire. The station opened on 1 July 1903, closed on 3 April 1961. Chipping Sodbury station on navigable 1946 O. S. map
Market town or market right is a legal term, originating in the Middle Ages, for a European settlement that has the right to host markets, distinguishing it from a village and city. On the European continent, a town may be described as a "market town" or as having "market rights" if it no longer holds a market, provided the legal right to do so still exists. In Britain it remains in common use as a loose descriptive term for small rural towns with a hinterland of villages, it is sometimes reflected in their names, as with Market Rasen, or Market Drayton. Modern markets are in special halls, but this is a recent development; the markets were open-air, held in what is called the market square, centred on a market cross. They were and are open one or two days a week; the primary purpose of a market town is the provision of goods and services to the surrounding locality. Although market towns were known in antiquity, their number increased from the 12th century. Market towns across Europe flourished with an improved economy, a more urbanised society and the widespread introduction of a cash-based economy.
The Domesday Book of 1086 lists 50 markets in England. Some 2,000 new markets were established between 1200 and 1349; the burgeoning of market towns occurred across Europe around the same time. Market towns most grew up close to fortified places, such as castles or monasteries, not only to enjoy their protection, but because large manorial households and monasteries generated demand for goods and services. Historians term these early market towns "prescriptive market towns" in that they may not have enjoyed any official sanction such as a charter, but were accorded market town status through custom and practice if they had been in existence prior to 1199. From a early stage and administrators understood that a successful market town attracted people, generated revenue and would pay for the town's defenses. From around the 12th century and European kings began granting charters to villages allowing them to create a market on specific days. Framlingham in Suffolk is a notable example of a market situated near a fortified building.
Additionally, markets were located where transport was easiest, such as at a crossroads or close to a river. When local railway lines were first built, market towns were given priority to ease the transport of goods. For instance, in Calderdale, West Yorkshire, several market towns close together were designated to take advantage of the new trains; the designation of Halifax, Sowerby Bridge, Hebden Bridge, Todmorden is an example of this. A number of studies have pointed to the prevalence of the periodic market in medieval towns and rural areas due to the localised nature of the economy; the marketplace was the accepted location for trade, social interaction, transfer of information and gossip. A broad range of retailers congregated in market towns – peddlers, hucksters, stallholders and other types of trader; some were professional traders occupied a local shopfront such as a bakery or alehouse, while others were casual traders who set up a stall or carried their wares around in baskets on market days.
Market trade supplied for the needs of local consumers whether they were visitors or local residents. Braudel and Reynold have made a systematic study of European market towns between the 13th and 15th century, their investigation shows that in regional districts markets were held once or twice a week while daily markets were common in larger cities. Over time, permanent shops began opening daily and supplanted the periodic markets, while peddlers or itinerant sellers continued to fill in any gaps in distribution; the physical market was characterised by transactional exchange and bartering systems were commonplace. Shops had higher overhead costs, but were able to offer regular trading hours and a relationship with customers and may have offered added value services, such as credit terms to reliable customers; the economy was characterised by local trading in which goods were traded across short distances. Braudel reports. However, following the European age of discovery, goods were imported from afar – calico cloth from India, porcelain and tea from China, spices from India and South-East Asia and tobacco, sugar and coffee from the New World.
The importance of local markets began to decline from the mid-16th century. Permanent shops which provided more stable trading hours began to supplant the periodic market. In addition, the rise of a merchant class led to the import and exports of a broad range of goods, contributing to a reduced reliance on local produce. At the centre of this new global mercantile trade was Antwerp, which by the mid-16th century, was the undisputed largest market town in Europe. A good number of local histories of individual market towns can be found. However, more general histories of the rise of market-towns across Europe are much more difficult to locate. Clark points out that while a good deal is known about the economic value of markets in local economies, the cultural role of market-towns has received scant scholarly attention. In Denmark, the concept of the market town has existed since the Iron Age, it is not known, the first Danish market town, but Hedeby and Ribe were among the first. Per 1801, there were 74 market towns in Denmark.
The last town to gain market rights was Skjern in 195
Avon Fire and Rescue Service
Avon Fire & Rescue Service is the fire and rescue service covering the unitary authorities of Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire in South West England. The headquarters of the service is co-located with Avon and Somerset Police in Portishead, the service has 22 fire stations across its area. Avon Fire Brigade was created in 1974. In 1996, the county was abolished and four separate unitary authorities were created. Administration of the service was taken over by a joint fire authority made up of councillors from the four unitary authorities. In 2004, the Fire and Rescue Services Act was passed. To better reflect the changing roles and responsibilities of the fire service, Avon Fire Brigade changed its name to Avon Fire & Rescue Service. Fleur Lombard QGM was the first female firefighter to die on duty in peacetime Britain, while Avon Fire and Rescue Service were fighting a supermarket fire in Staple Hill; the Fleur Lombard Bursary Fund provides travel grants so that a junior UK firefighter may visit the fire service of another country.
In September 2017 the service's headquarters was moved from Temple Back, Bristol to the Avon and Somerset Constabulary's headquarters in Portishead. Following the move an unexpected number of support staff left the service, resulting in recruitment delays in finding replacement staff. On 28 July 2017, the Chief Fire Officer, Kevin Pearson was suspended following the publication of a report from the Home Office on an investigation into how the service is run, citing that it was being run as an "old boys' club", that Pearson had been "unchallenged and not held properly to account for too long". Deputy Chief Fire Officer Lorraine Houghton was suspended; the service is governed by the Avon Fire Authority, which has a total of 25 councillors from the four councils within the region. Following the suspension of Pearson, the board met on 2 August 2017 to discuss what changes needed to be made and how the authority should be governed in the future, but no conclusion was reached; the authority released a statement afterwards announcing that it could not "fix itself" and that the Police and Crime Commissioner, Sue Mountstevens is to be appointed to the board in September.
Mountstevens has said following the release of the report that she was considering a takeover of the area's fire service. On 11 August 2017, it was announced that Mick Crennell had been appointed as the interim Chief Fire Officer on a six month contract, whilst the investigation of Pearson is taking place. Crennell served as Deputy Chief Fire Officer of Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service. In April 2018 Crennell was appointed Chief Fire Officer; the role of a modern fire and rescue service has increased from fighting fires to cover the core functions of'Protecting and Responding'. Avon Fire & Rescue Service now has a wider remit promoting community safety through events and education work, alongside attending a range of incidents and emergencies from road traffic collisions and fires, to flooding and chemical spills; the fire service aims to cut the risk of fire developing in the first place by promoting safety messages to local residents and encouraging people to have working smoke alarms.
Avon Fire & Rescue Service runs community safety campaigns. The summer 2009 campaign,'Be BBQ Safe', included a hard hitting interview with a BBQ fire burns victim who spent the previous summer in intensive care after using nitro to light his BBQ; the Car Clear scheme was launched in 2001, with the intention of promptly removing abandoned vehicles from streets. This eliminates the possibility of arson attacks. In meeting their Mission and Values Avon Fire & Rescue Service utilizes a large cadre of emergency equipment; these include 81 appliances, 51 pumping appliances, four turntable ladders and 16 special appliances. Adding to the available emergency response can be their boats, fork lift trucks, a Control Emergency Evacuation Vehicle and a telescopic handler. In 2009 & 2011 Avon Fire & Rescue added two - Polybilt bodied Combined Aerial Rescue Platforms; the first began service at Patchway fire station and was subsequently moved to Speedwell fire station. The second was assigned to Bedminster fire station.
However both of these appliances have been withdrawn from service by July 2016 and the bodywork has been removed from the chassis to allow for the chassis to be used for new specialist appliances. In 2009 to better serve the public Yate Fire Station was upgraded to "whole-time/retained status". Firefighters would now be ready to respond from the fire station 24/7; this was a preparedness upgrade from the "day-crewed" status of 0800 – 1700 hours daily and firefighters responding from their homes and work places. As part of the "Investing for the Future" programme, which began in 2014, Kingswood Fire Station was closed for refurbishment; the Kingswood Fire Station project was completed and subsequently Speedwell Fire Station closed permanently all in 2015. The Chair of Avon Fire Authority assured the public. Along with Speedwell Fire Station Keynsham Fire Station was closed 1 November 2015. According to the Chairman of Avon Fire Authority, Councillor Peter Abraham "The regeneration of Keynsham town centre meant we needed to move the existing Keynsham Fire Station.
This has provided us with an opportunity to amalgamate the part-time station at Keynsham and Brislington fire station, which will both close, into a new Wholetime fire station at Hicks Gate." In 2009 it emerged that the service had banned white males from four out of five of its recruitment workshops, with two only open to ethnic minorities and two for females only. The practice was criticised as illegal and divisi
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
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