Great Britain is highly developed industrial country. The economy of the United Kingdom is the fifth-largest national economy in the world measured by nominal gross domestic product (GDP) and ninth-largest in the world measured by purchasing power parity, comprising 4 percent of world GDP. It is the second-largest in the European Union by both metrics.
About 25 percent of Britain’s land is arable, and almost half is suitable for meadows and pastures. Its agriculture is highly mechanized and extremely productive; about 2 percent of the labor force produces 60percent of the country’s food needs. Barley, wheat, rapeseed, potatoes, sugar beets, fruits, and vegetables are the main crops. The widespread dairy industry produces milk, eggs, and cheese. Beef cattle and large numbers of sheep, as well as poultry and pigs, are raised throughout much of the country. There is also a sizable fishing industry, with cod, haddock, mackerel, whiting, trout, salmon, and shellfish making up the bulk of the catch.
Great Britain is one of the world’s leading industrialized nations. It has achieved this position despite the lack of most raw materials needed for industry. It must also import 40 percent of its food supplies. Thus, its 55 prosperity has been dependent upon the export of manufactured goods in exchange for raw materials and foodstuffs. Within the manufacturing sector, the largest industries include machine tools; electric power, automation, and railroad equipment; ships; aircraft; motor vehicles and parts; electronic and communications equipment; metals; chemicals; coal; petroleum; paper and printing; food processing; textiles; and clothing.
The main industrial and commercial areas are the great conurbations, where about one third of the country‟ population lives. The administrative and financial center and most important port is Greater London, which also has various manufacturing industries. London is Europe’s foremost financial city. Metal goods, vehicles, aircraft, synthetic fibers, and electronic equipment are made in the West Midlands conurbation, which with the addition of Coventry roughly corresponds to the former metropolitan county of West Midlands. The industrial Black Country and the city of Birmingham are in the West Midlands. Greater Manchester has cotton and synthetic textiles, coal, and chemical industries and is a transportation and warehousing center. Liverpool, Britain’s second port, along with Southport and Saint Helens are part of the Merseyside conurbation. Leeds, Bradford, and the neighboring metropolitan districts are Britain’s main center of woolen, worsted, and other textile production. The Tyneside-Wearside region, with Newcastle upon Tyne as its center and Sunderland as a main city, has coal mines and steel, electrical engineering, chemical, and shipbuilding and repair industries.
The South Wales conurbation, with the ports of Swansea, Cardiff, and Newport, was historically a center of coal mining and steel manufacturing; coal mining has declined sharply, however, in many parts of the region. Current important industries also include oil refining, metals production (lead, zinc, nickel, aluminum), synthetic fibers, and electronics. In Scotland, the region around the River Clyde, including Glasgow, is noted for shipbuilding, marine engineering, and printing as well as textile, food, and chemicals production. The Belfast area in Northern Ireland is a shipbuilding, textile, and food products center.
Transportation in the UK
UK transportation is one of the best and oldest one; it has a very rich history behind it. Transportation by different means in UK started in 1800s and the countries that were once ruled by Britain also have the traces of their superb transport forms around Asia and Europe. Transport in Britain is very high-tech and at the peak of its scientific invention. The UK has an integrated transport system of airports, seaports, rail and road.
Britain is one of the few countries in Europe where double-decker buses (i.e. with two floors) are a common Sight. Although single-deckers have also been in use since the 1960s, London still has more than 3000 double-deckers in operation. In their original form, they were “hop-on, hop-off” buses. That is, there were no doors, just an opening at the back to the outside. There was a conductor who walked around collecting fares while the bus was moving. However, most buses these days, including double-deckers, have separate doors for getting on and off and no conductor (fares are paid to the driver).
The famous London Underground, known as “the tube”, is feeling the effects of its age (it was first opened in 1863). It is now one of the dirtiest and least efficient of all such systems in European cities.
However, it is still heavily used because it provides excellent connections with the main line train stations and with the suburbs surrounding the city.
Another symbol of London is the distinctive black taxi (in fact, they are not all black these days, nor are they confined to London).
The UK has some of the largest and busiest international airports in Europe.
Leading international airports include:
• London Gatwick;
• Birmingham International;
• London Stansted;
• Belfast International.
The UK has a network of 417.000 kilometres of roads, including 3.600 kilometres of motorways. The majority are toll free.
The road network provides for easy access to major cities both within the UK and in mainland Europe.
The rail network provides links nationwide and to Europe through the Eurostar connection and the Channel Tunnel.
Sea transport may be a good option if you need to transport large volumes of goods cheaply. There are a total of 100 active ports in the UK, handling over 550 million tonnes of freight each year.