Speaker of the House of Commons (United Kingdom)
The Speaker of the House of Commons is the presiding officer of the House of Commons, the United Kingdom's nominally lower, but more influential, chamber of Parliament. John Bercow was elected Speaker on 22 June 2009, following the resignation of Michael Martin, he was since re-elected, three times, following the general elections in 2010, 2015 and 2017. The Speaker presides over the House's debates; the Speaker is responsible for maintaining order during debate, may punish members who break the rules of the House. Unlike presiding officers of legislatures in many other countries, Speakers remain non-partisan and renounce all affiliation with their former political parties when taking office and afterwards; the Speaker does not take part in vote. Aside from duties relating to presiding over the House, the Speaker performs administrative and procedural functions, remains a constituency Member of Parliament; the Speaker has the obligation to reside in Speaker's House at the Palace of Westminster.
The office of Speaker is as old as Parliament itself. The earliest year for which a presiding officer has been identified is 1258, when Peter de Montfort presided over the Parliament held in Oxford. Early presiding officers were known by prolocutor; the continuous history of the office of Speaker is held to date from 1376 when Sir Peter de la Mare spoke for the commons in the "Good Parliament" as they joined leading magnates in purging the chief ministers of the Crown and the most unpopular members of the king's household. Edward III was frail and in seclusion, it was left to a furious John of Gaunt, to fight back. He arrested disgraced other leading critics. In the next, "Bad Parliament", in 1377, a cowed Commons put forward Gaunt's steward, Thomas Hungerford, as their spokesman in retracting their predecessors' misdeeds of the previous year. Gaunt evidently wanted a "mirror-image" as his form of counter-coup and this notion, born in crisis, of one'speaker', who also became'chairman' and organiser of the Commons' business, was recognised as valuable and took immediate root after 1376–7.
On 6 October 1399, Sir John Cheyne of Beckford was elected speaker. The powerful Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Arundel, is said to have voiced his fears of Cheyne's reputation as a critic of the Church. Eight days Cheyne resigned on grounds of ill-health, although he remained in favour with the king and active in public life for a further 14 years. Although the officer was elected by the Commons at the start of each Parliament, with at least one contested election known, in 1420, in practice the Crown was able to get whom it wanted, indicating that the famous'defence of the Commons' privilege' should not be seen in isolation as the principal thread in the office's evolution. Whilst the principle of giving this spokesman personal immunity from recrimination as only being the voice of the whole body was adopted and did enhance the Commons' role, the Crown found it useful to have one person with the authority to select and lead the lower house's business and responses to the Crown's agenda, much more than not in the way the Crown wanted.
Thus, Whig ideas of the Commons growing in authority as against royal power are somewhat simplistic. Throughout the medieval and early modern period, every speaker was an MP for a county, reflecting the implicit position that such shire representatives were of greater standing in the house than the more numerous burgess MPs. Although evidence is non-existent, it has been surmised that any vote was by count of head, but by the same token the lack of evidence of actual votes suggests that most decisions, at least of a general kind, were reached more through persuasion and the weight by status of the county MPs. In such a situation, the influence of the speaker should not be underestimated. Sir Thomas More was the first speaker to go on to become Lord Chancellor; until the 17th century, members of the House of Commons continued to view their speaker as an agent of the Crown. As Parliament evolved, the Speaker's position grew to involve more duties to the House than to the Crown; this change is sometimes said to be reflected by an incident in 1642, when King Charles I entered the House in order to search for and arrest five members for high treason.
When the King asked him if he knew of the location of these members, the Speaker, William Lenthall, famously replied: "May it please your Majesty, I have neither eyes to see nor tongue to speak in this place but as the House is pleased to direct me, whose servant I am here."The development of Cabinet government under King William III in the late 17th century caused further change in the role of the Speaker. Speakers were associated with the ministry, held other government offices. For example, Robert Harley served as Speaker and as a Secretary of State between 1704 and 1705; the speaker between 1728 and 1761, Arthur Onslow, reduced ties with the government, though the office remained to a large degree political. The speakership evolved into its modern form—in which the holder is an impartial and apolitical officer who does not
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
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
Wellingborough (UK Parliament constituency)
Wellingborough is a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 2005 by Peter Bone, a Conservative. This seat was created under the Representation of the People Act 1918. Political historyWellingborough's earliest years were left-leaning. Since 1964 the seat has kept on producing examples of bellwether results and showed itself to be safe for more than one government term. Departing from this are two years where the result has defied the most common result nationwide, by leaning towards the Conservative Party, in 1974 and in 2005. In the 2016 EU referendum, Wellingborough voted 62.4% leave to 37.6% remain Prominent frontbenchersSir Geoffrey Shakespeare was a Lloyd-Georgist National Liberal who served in junior minister roles through much of World War II including as the Secretary for Overseas Trade in 1940. The lack of other senior positions is assisted by no majority having been gained by the winner, in national terms shown to be insurmountable, see marginal seat.
1918-1950: The Municipal Borough of Higham Ferrers, the Urban Districts of Finedon, Raunds and Wellingborough, the Rural District of Wellingborough, in the Rural District of Thrapston the parishes of Chelveston cum Caldecott and Stanwick. 1950-1974: The Municipal Borough of Higham Ferrers, the Urban Districts of Irthlingborough, Raunds and Wellingborough, the Rural District of Wellingborough, in the Rural District of Oundle and Thrapston the civil parishes of Chelveston cum Caldecott and Hargrave. 1974-1983: The Municipal Borough of Higham Ferrers, the Urban Districts of Irthlingborough, Raunds and Wellingborough, the Rural Districts of Oundle and Thrapston, Wellingborough. 1983-2010: The Borough of Wellingborough, the District of East Northamptonshire wards of Higham Ferrers, Rushden East, Rushden North, Rushden South, Rushden West. 2010-present: The Borough of Wellingborough wards of Brickhill, Croyland, Great Doddington and Wilby, Irchester, Queensway, Redwell East, Redwell West, South and Wollaston, the District of East Northamptonshire wards of Higham Ferrers, Rushden East, Rushden North, Rushden South, Rushden West.
The constituency is named after the town of Wellingborough and covers most of the Borough of Wellingborough local government district. The constituency includes Rushden and Higham Ferrers, a large village in the neighbouring local government district of East Northamptonshire. Higham Ferrers was itself a former borough constituency until its abolition as one of the rotten boroughs in 1832. Strengths in local industries here or in neighbouring Northampton and Kettering include in printing and distribution, construction, food processing and advanced engineering sectors. Despite this a decline in the traditional local industries such as quarrying, furniture making and textiles pushes workless claimants who were registered jobseekers in November 2012 higher than the national average of 3.8%, at 4.5% of the population based on a statistical compilation by The Guardian. 1: After nominations were closed, Garvie was suspended from the Labour Party after he was convicted of fraud after buying £900 of train tickets with a closed bank account.
He still appeared on ballot papers as Labour. List of Parliamentary constituencies in Northamptonshire Notes References A history of Britain's parliamentary constituencies / edited by Jacques A. Arnold; the constituencies of the county of Northamptonshire
Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people. These include oral traditions such as tales and jokes, they include material culture, ranging from traditional building styles to handmade toys common to the group. Folklore includes customary lore, the forms and rituals of celebrations such as Christmas and weddings, folk dances and initiation rites; each one of these, either singly or in combination, is considered a folklore artifact. Just as essential as the form, folklore encompasses the transmission of these artifacts from one region to another or from one generation to the next. Folklore is not something one can gain in a formal school curriculum or study in the fine arts. Instead, these traditions are passed along informally from one individual to another either through verbal instruction or demonstration; the academic study of folklore is called Folklore studies, it can be explored at undergraduate, graduate and Ph. D. levels. To understand folklore, it is helpful to clarify its component parts: the terms folk and lore.
It is well-documented. He fabricated it to replace the contemporary terminology of "popular antiquities" or "popular literature"; the second half of the compound word, proves easier to define as its meaning has stayed stable over the last two centuries. Coming from Old English lār'instruction,' and with German and Dutch cognates, it is the knowledge and traditions of a particular group passed along by word of mouth; the concept of folk proves somewhat more elusive. When Thoms first created this term, folk applied only to rural poor and illiterate peasants. A more modern definition of folk is a social group which includes two or more persons with common traits, who express their shared identity through distinctive traditions. "Folk is a flexible concept which can refer to a nation as in American folklore or to a single family." This expanded social definition of folk supports a broader view of the material, i.e. the lore, considered to be folklore artifacts. These now include all "things people make with words, things they make with their hands, things they make with their actions".
Folklore is no longer circumscribed as being chronologically obsolete. The folklorist studies the traditional artifacts of a social group. Transmission is a vital part of the folklore process. Without communicating these beliefs and customs within the group over space and time, they would become cultural shards relegated to cultural archaeologists. For folklore is a verb; these folk artifacts continue to be passed along informally, as a rule anonymously and always in multiple variants. The folk group is not individualistic, it nurtures its lore in community. "As new groups emerge, new folklore is created… surfers, computer programmers". In direct contrast to high culture, where any single work of a named artist is protected by copyright law, folklore is a function of shared identity within the social group. Having identified folk artifacts, the professional folklorist strives to understand the significance of these beliefs and objects for the group. For these cultural units would not be passed along unless they had some continued relevance within the group.
That meaning can however morph. So Halloween of the 21st century is not the All Hallows' Eve of the Middle Ages, gives rise to its own set of urban legends independent of the historical celebration; the cleansing rituals of Orthodox Judaism were good public health in a land with little water. Compare this to brushing your teeth transmitted within a group, which remains a practical hygiene and health issue and does not rise to the level of a group-defining tradition. For tradition is remembered behavior. Once it loses its practical purpose, there is no reason for further transmission unless it has been imbued with meaning beyond the initial practicality of the action; this meaning is at the core of the study of folklore. With an theoretical sophistication of the social sciences, it has become evident that folklore is a occurring and necessary component of any social group, it is indeed all around us, it does not have to be antiquated. It continues to be created, transmitted and in any group is used to differentiate between "us" and "them".
Folklore began to distinguish itself as an autonomous discipline during the period of romantic nationalism in Europe. A particular figure in this development was Johann Gottfried von Herder, whose writings in the 1770s presented oral traditions as organic processes grounded in locale. After the German states were invaded by Napoleonic France, Herder's approach was adopted by many of his fellow Germans who systematized the recorded folk traditions and used them in their process of nation building; this process was enthusiastically embraced by smaller nations like Finland and Hungary, which were seeking political independence from their dominant neighbours. Folklore as a field of study further developed among 19th century European scholars who were contrasting tradition with the newly developing modernity, its focus was the oral folklore of the rural peasant populations, which were considered as residue and survivals of the past that continued to exist within the lower strata of society. The "Kinder- und Hausmärchen" of the Brothers Grimm is the best known but by no means only collection of verbal folklore of the European peasantry of th
House of Commons of the United Kingdom
The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the upper house, the House of Lords, it meets in the Palace of Westminster; the full name of the house is the Honourable the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled. Owing to shortage of space, its office accommodation extends into Portcullis House; the Commons is an elected body consisting of 650 members known as Members of Parliament. Members are elected to represent constituencies by the first-past-the-post system and hold their seats until Parliament is dissolved; the House of Commons of England started to evolve in 14th centuries. It became the House of Commons of Great Britain after the political union with Scotland in 1707, assumed the title of "House of Commons of Great Britain and Ireland" after the political union with Ireland at the start of the 19th century; the "United Kingdom" referred to was the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 1800, became the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland after the independence of the Irish Free State in 1922.
Accordingly, the House of Commons assumed its current title. Under the Parliament Act 1911, the Lords' power to reject legislation was reduced to a delaying power; the Government is responsible to the House of Commons and the Prime Minister stays in office only as long as she or he retains the confidence of a majority of the Commons. Although it does not formally elect the prime minister, the position of the parties in the House of Commons is of overriding importance. By convention, the prime minister is answerable to, must maintain the support of, the House of Commons. Thus, whenever the office of prime minister falls vacant, the Sovereign appoints the person who has the support of the House, or, most to command the support of the House—normally the leader of the largest party in the Commons, while the leader of the second-largest party becomes the Leader of the Opposition. Since 1963, by convention, the prime minister is always a member of the House of Commons, rather than the House of Lords.
The Commons may indicate its lack of support for the Government by rejecting a motion of confidence or by passing a motion of no confidence. Confidence and no confidence motions are phrased explicitly, for instance: "That this House has no confidence in Her Majesty's Government." Many other motions were until recent decades considered confidence issues though not explicitly phrased as such: in particular, important bills that were part of the Government's agenda. The annual Budget is still considered a matter of confidence; when a Government has lost the confidence of the House of Commons, the prime minister is obliged either to resign, making way for another MP who can command confidence, or to request the monarch to dissolve Parliament, thereby precipitating a general election. Parliament sits for a maximum term of five years. Subject to that limit, the prime minister could choose the timing of the dissolution of parliament, with the permission of the Monarch. However, since the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act 2011, terms are now a fixed five years, an early general election is brought about by a two-thirds majority in favour of a motion for a dissolution, or by a vote of no confidence, not followed within fourteen days by a vote of confidence.
By this second mechanism, the UK's government can change its political composition without an intervening general election. Only four of the eight last Prime Ministers have attained office as the immediate result of a general election; the latter four were Jim Callaghan, John Major, Gordon Brown and the current Prime Minister Theresa May. In such circumstances there may not have been an internal party leadership election, as the new leader may be chosen by acclaim, having no electoral rival. A prime minister will resign after party defeat at an election if unable to lead a coalition, or obtain a confidence and supply arrangement, she or he may resign after a motion of no confidence or for health reasons. In such cases, the premiership goes to, it has become the practice to write the constitution of major UK political parties to provide a set way in which to appoint a new leader. Until 1965, the Conservative Party had no fixed mechanism for this, it fell to the Queen to appoint Harold Macmillan as the new prime minister, after taking the consensus of cabinet ministers.
By convention, ministers are members of the House of House of Lords. A handful have been appointed who were outside Parliament, but in most cases they entered Parliament in a by-election or by receiving a peerage. Exceptions include Peter Mandelson, appointed Secretary of State for Business and Regulatory Reform in October 2008 before his peerage. Since 1902, all prime ministers have been members of the Commons; the new session of Parliament was delayed to await the outcome of his by-election, which happened
The East Midlands is one of nine official regions of England at the first level of NUTS for statistical purposes. It consists of Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and Rutland; the region has an area of 15,627 km2, with a population over 4.5 million in 2011. There are five main urban centres, Leicester, Lincoln and Nottingham. Others include Boston, Chesterfield, Grantham, Kettering, Mansfield, Newark-on-Trent and Wellingborough. Relative proximity to London and its position on the national motorway and trunk road networks help the East Midlands to thrive as an economic hub. Nottingham and Leicester are each classified as a sufficiency-level world city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network; the region is served by East Midlands Airport, which lies between Derby and Nottingham. The high point at 636 m is Kinder Scout, in the Peak District of the southern Pennines in northwest Derbyshire near Glossop. Other upland, hilly areas of 95 to 280 m in altitude, together with lakes and reservoirs, rise in and around the Charnwood Forest north of Leicester, in the Lincolnshire Wolds.
The region's major rivers, the Nene, the Soar, the Trent and the Welland, flow in a northeasterly direction towards the Humber and the Wash. The Derwent, rises in the High Peak before flowing south to join the Trent some 2 miles before its conflux with the Soar; the centre of the East Midlands area lies between Bingham and Bottesford, Leicestershire. The geographical centre of England lies in Higham on the Hill in west Leicestershire, close to the boundary between the Leicestershire and Warwickshire; some 88 per cent of the land is rural in character, although agriculture accounts for less than three per cent of the region's jobs. Lincolnshire is the only maritime county of the six, with a true North Sea coastline of about 30 miles due to the protection afforded by Spurn Head and the North Norfolk foreshore. Church Flatts Farm in Coton in the Elms, South Derbyshire, is the furthest place from the sea in the UK. In April 1936 the first Ordnance Survey trig point was sited at Cold Ashby in Northamptonshire.
The Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts and The Wildlife Trusts are based next to the River Trent and Newark Castle railway station. The National Centre for Earth Observation is at the University of Leicester; the region is home to large quantities of limestone, the East Midlands Oil Province. Charnwood Forest is noted for its abundant levels of volcanic rock, estimated to be 600 million years old. A quarter of the UK's cement is manufactured in the region, at three sites in Hope and Tunstead in Derbyshire, Ketton Cement Works in Rutland. Of the aggregates produced in the region, 25 per cent are from Derbyshire and four per cent from Leicestershire. Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire each produce around 30 per cent of the region's sand and gravel output. Barwell in Leicestershire was the site of Britain's largest meteorite on 24 December 1965; the 2008 Lincolnshire earthquake was 5.2 in magnitude. Areas of the East Midlands designated by the East Midlands Biodiversity Partnership as Biodiversity Conservation Areas include: Charnwood Forest Coversand Heaths Derbyshire Peak Fringe and Lower Derwent Humberhead Levels Leighland Forest The Lincolnshire Limewoods and Heaths The Lincolnshire coast The Peak District Rockingham Forest Sherwood Forest Rutland, SW Lincolnshire and N Northamptonshire The Wash Areas of the East Midlands designated by the East Midlands Biodiversity Partnership as Biodiversity Enhancement Areas include: The Coalfields The Daventry Grasslands The Fens The Lincolnshire Coastal Grazing Marshes The Lincolnshire Wolds The National Forest The Yardley-Whittlewood RidgeTwo of the nationally designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty are: The Peak District The Lincolnshire Wolds Several towns in the southern part of the region, including Market Harborough, Rothwell, Kettering, Thrapston and Stamford, lie within the boundaries of what was once Rockingham Forest – designated a royal forest by William the Conqueror and was long hunted by English kings and queens.
The National Forest is an environmental project in central England run by The National Forest Company. Areas of north Leicestershire, south Derbyshire and south-east Staffordshire covering around 200 square miles are being planted in an attempt to blend ancient woodland with new plantings, it stretches from the western outskirts of Leicester in the east to Burton upon Trent in the west, is planned to link the ancient forests of Needwood and Charnwood. Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire attracts many visitors, is best known for its ties with the legend of Robin Hood. Regional financial funding decisions for the East Midlands are taken by East Midlands Councils, based in Melton Mowbray. East Midlands Councils is an unelected body made up of representatives of local government in the region; the defunct East Midlands Development Agency was headquartered next to the BBC's East Midlands office in Nottingham and made financial decisions regarding economic development in the region. Since the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition government launched its austerity programme after the 2010 general election, regional bodies such as those have been devolved to smaller groups now on a county level.
As a region today, there is no overriding body with significant financial or planning powers for the East Midlands. The East Midlands' largest settlements are Leicester, Derby, Chesterfield, Mansfield and Kettering. Leicester is the largest