Unit 5: Contemporary Britain


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Unit 5: Contemporary Britain

  1. 1. Contemporary Britain Unit 5 from Let Us Explore the British Isles, pp. 46-57 Marcus Hildebrandt
  2. 2. Contemporary Britain <ul><li>Economy </li></ul><ul><li>Industry </li></ul><ul><li>Agriculture </li></ul><ul><li>Science and Technology </li></ul><ul><li>Transport </li></ul><ul><li>Environmental Issues </li></ul><ul><li>Tourism </li></ul>
  3. 3. Economy 1 <ul><li>UK fifth largest economy in the world, second in Europe </li></ul><ul><li>Britain’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in 2007 £1,410 billion, with an increasing tendency </li></ul><ul><li>GDP per sector: agriculture (1%), industry (26%), services (73%) </li></ul><ul><li>Inflation: 4.4%; unemployment: 5.4% </li></ul><ul><li>UK living standards among the highest in Europe </li></ul>
  4. 4. Economy 2 <ul><li>In 2003, 39 of the world’s 500 largest companies were based in the UK, 34 of which were UK-owned. </li></ul><ul><li>Top 5 companies in 2003: 1. BP Energy 2. Vodafone 3. GlaxoSmithKlein </li></ul><ul><li>4. HSBC Holdings (banking) 5. Royal Bank of Scotland </li></ul>
  5. 5. Industry <ul><li>Great changes since WW II, with a shift from heavy industries to services </li></ul><ul><li>Today about 70% employed in services (tourism, insurance, banking [City of London: 555 banks and 300,000workers!]) </li></ul><ul><li>Most British companies are small and make expensive products </li></ul>
  6. 6. Agriculture <ul><li>80% of the land in England used in agriculture, but only 1-2% of the total workforce </li></ul><ul><li>large fields mainly in eastern and southern England (wheat, barley, oilseed rape, sugar beet, peas, beans) </li></ul><ul><li>Over 50% of farms rear lifestock (sheep!) </li></ul><ul><li>60% of Britain’s demands in food produced in England </li></ul><ul><li>At the end of the 20th century big crises: cheap imports  22,000 farmers lost their jobs </li></ul><ul><li>BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) =“mad cow disease”  worldwide ban on British beef </li></ul><ul><li>3% of land used for organic farming (Prince of Wales one of its promoters) </li></ul>
  7. 7. Wheat, barley, oilseed rape, sugar beet <ul><li>Wheat </li></ul><ul><li>Barley </li></ul><ul><li>Oilseed rape </li></ul><ul><li>Sugar beet </li></ul>
  8. 8. Mad Cow Disease
  9. 9. Science and Technology <ul><li>46 Nobel prizes! (biotechnology, biomedicine, chemicals, aerospace, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Pp. 48/49: important scientific developments and inventions over the last 25 years </li></ul><ul><li>Science festivals to promote science among the public (Edinburgh International Science Festival: 70,000 people) </li></ul><ul><li>Various museums around the country: 1. Natural History Museum in London (UK’s top visitor attraction) 2. The Deep in Hull (Europe’s deepest aquarium) 3. W5 Interactive Discovery Centre in Belfast 4. The Eden Project in Cornwall </li></ul>
  10. 10. Transport 1 <ul><li>Survey by the Commission for Integrated Transport (November 2001): “British public transport the worst in Europe” </li></ul><ul><li>46 minutes of commuting per day; traffic jams; high travel fares (less subsidised); high level of car use </li></ul>
  11. 11. Transport 2 <ul><li>Inter-city public transport: buses, trains (privatised; many delays and cancellations due to serious accidents and subsequent engineering works) </li></ul><ul><li>Urban public transport: buses (famous red double-deckers are being replaced, taxis, the Tube (since the 1860s; 2 million people per day) </li></ul><ul><li>Park-and-Ride services </li></ul><ul><li>The Channel Tunnel (opened in 1994): Eurostar (London-Brussels-Paris) and Eurotunnel (Folkstone-Calais) </li></ul><ul><li>Airlines: Ryan Air, EasyJet; London Heathrow (64.6 million passengers in 2000) </li></ul><ul><li>Required age to drive a car: 17 </li></ul>
  12. 12. Environmental Issues 1 <ul><li>Nature Conservation </li></ul><ul><li>A wide range of projects to recover threatened species </li></ul><ul><li>Many protected areas (over 300 national nature reserves with over 200,000 hectares); around 6,700 Sites of Special Interest (SSSIs) </li></ul><ul><li>Britain once covered completely by forest, since prehistoric times large areas have been cleared </li></ul>
  13. 13. Environmental Issues 2 <ul><li>B. Environmental problems </li></ul><ul><li>Government strategy: new homes on brownfield sites as opposed to greenfield sites </li></ul><ul><li>Many organisations committed to sustainable development: </li></ul><ul><li>National Trust (2.7 million members; responsible for ca. 200 buildings and gardens) </li></ul><ul><li>English Nature (government agency responsible for the SSSIs) </li></ul><ul><li>English Heritage (government organisation that protects many old, historic buildings; rescue archaeology) </li></ul>
  14. 14. Environmental Issues 3 <ul><li>Other actions include: - cleaning up of contaminated land - noise and vibration control - wastewater treatment - marine pollution control - renewable energy sources (right now around 5%, by 2010 10%) - recycling waste (landfill sites, incinerators; only 8% recycled) at bottle banks, etc. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Tourism 1 <ul><li>Thomas Cook (1808-92): founder of the first worldwide travel agency, inventor of the conducted tour </li></ul><ul><li>Over 2 million people employed in tourism </li></ul><ul><li>Over £ 50 million each year </li></ul><ul><li>Tourists come from: Western Europe (66%) </li></ul><ul><li>Most important airports: Heathrow , Gatwick, Manchester, Luton, Stansted </li></ul><ul><li>Ferries, hovercrafts ; Strait of Dover (busiest passenger port in Europe) </li></ul><ul><li>Good system of motorways and roads, extensive rail network </li></ul><ul><li>Where to stay? B&B (bed and breakfast) a cheap alternative; youth hostels, caravan parks </li></ul><ul><li>Sites: UNESCO World Heritage List (e.g., Tower of London ; Canterbury Cathedral , Hadrian’s Wall ; Bath ; Stonehenge ) </li></ul>
  16. 16. Tourism 2 <ul><li>Top sites in number of visitors: 1. Blackpool (Pleasure Beach Theme Park ) 2. British Museum 3. National Gallery 4. Palace Pier (Brighton) </li></ul><ul><li>5. Madame Tussaud’s </li></ul><ul><li>Favourite cities: London, Oxford , Stratford-upon-Avon, Cambridge </li></ul><ul><li>BTA (British Tourist Authority)  Festival of Art in Culture in 1995 (the biggest international campaign to promote Britain’s culture); many publications </li></ul><ul><li>National Parks (12 in England and Wales) </li></ul><ul><li>Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs): Isles of Scilly (smallest), Cotswolds (the largest) </li></ul><ul><li>Lake District National Park </li></ul>
  17. 17. Thank you! For further information, see also: www.visitbritain.com