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The United Kingdom has historically played a leading role in developing parliamentary democracy and in advancing literature and science. At its zenith in the 19th century, the British Empire stretched over one-fourth of the earth's surface. The first half of the 20th century saw the UK's strength seriously depleted in two world wars and the Irish Republic's withdrawal from the union. The second half witnessed the dismantling of the Empire and the UK rebuilding itself into a modern and prosperous European nation. As one of five permanent members of the UN Security Council and a founding member of NATO and the Commonwealth, the UK pursues a global approach to foreign policy. The UK is also an active member of the EU, although it chose to remain outside the Economic and Monetary Union. The Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales, and the Northern Ireland Assembly were established in 1999. The latter was suspended until May 2007 due to wrangling over the peace process, but devolution was fully completed in March 2010.


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Transportation

Airports World Ranking: 19
462 (2012)

Airports - with paved runways
Total 272
Over 3,047 m 7
2,438 to 3,047 m 31
1,524 to 2,437 m 93
914 to 1,523 m 76
Under 914 m 65 (2012)

Airports - with unpaved runways
Total 190
1,524 to 2,437 m 2
914 to 1,523 m 25
Under 914 m 163 (2012)

Heliports
9 (2012)

Pipelines
Condensate 8 km; gas 14,071 km; liquid petroleum gas 59 km; oil 595 km; refined products 4,907 km (2010)

Railways World Ranking: 17
Total 16,454 km
Broad gauge
303 km 1.600-m gauge (in Northern Ireland)
Standard gauge
16,151 km 1.435-m gauge (5,248 km electrified) (2008)

Roadways World Ranking: 16
Total 394,428 km
Paved
394,428 km (includes 3,519 km of expressways) (2009)

Waterways World Ranking: 32
3,200 km (620 km used for commerce) (2009)

Merchant marine World Ranking: 22
Total 504
By type
Bulk carrier 33, cargo 76, carrier 4, chemical tanker 58, container 178, liquefied gas 6, passenger 7, passenger/cargo 66, petroleum tanker 18, refrigerated cargo 2, roll on/roll off 31, vehicle carrier 25
Foreign-owned
271 (Australia 1, Bermuda 6, China 7, Denmark 43, France 39, Germany 59, Hong Kong 12, Ireland 1, Italy 3, Japan 5, Netherlands 1, Norway 32, Sweden 28, Taiwan 11, Tanzania 1, UAE 8, US 14)
Registered in other countries
308 (Algeria 15, Antigua and Barbuda 1, Argentina 2, Australia 5, Bahamas 18, Barbados 6, Belgium 2, Belize 4, Bermuda 14, Bolivia 1, Brunei 2, Cambodia 1, Cape Verde 1, Cayman Islands 2, Comoros 1, Cook Islands 2, Cyprus 7, Georgia 5, Gibraltar 6, Greece 6, Honduras 1, Hong Kong 33, Indonesia 2, Italy 2, Liberia 22, Liberia 32, Luxembourg 5, Malta 21, Marshall Islands 12, Marshall Islands 3, Moldova 3, Nigeria 2, NZ 1, Panama 37, Panama 5, Saint Kitts and Nevis 1, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 6, Sierra Leone 1, Singapore 6, Thailand 6, Tonga 1, US 4, unknown 1) (2010)

Ports and terminals
Dover, Felixstowe, Immingham, Liverpool, London, Southampton, Teesport (England); Forth Ports (Scotland); Milford Haven (Wales)
Oil terminals
Fawley Marine terminal, Liverpool Bay terminal (England); Braefoot Bay terminal, Finnart oil terminal, Hound Point terminal (Scotland)


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  United Kingdom (London):


  GPS points from United Kingdom (London)

Redhythe Point Scotland

Brent Knoll Somerset

Burdale United Kingdom (general)

Croc Ard Eilean Siar

Ellerby England

Upton Nottinghamshire

Seacombe Cheshire

Orsay Island Scotland




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