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What are Britain's Natural resources?









Natural resources are things that occur naturally, and that are useful to us. They include fuels such as oil and natural gas, and materials such as iron ore, and timber. Natural resources may be renewable or non-renewable.

Renewable resources are those that are replaced in nature at a rate close to their rate of use e.g. plants and animals. Nonrenewable resources exist in fixed amounts or are used up faster than they can be replaced in nature e.g. fossil fuels.

The most important natural in England are its energy resources which generate about 10 per cent income for our country.

Natural resources:

  • Coal,
  • petroleum,
  • natural gas - found in the British sector of the North Sea
  • zinc
  • tin,
  • limestone,
  • iron ore,
  • salt,
  • slate
  • clay,
  • chalk,
  • gypsum,
  • lead,
  • silica,
  • arable land

Mines and Factories

During the 19th century Britain used to have many coal and iron mines and had the natural resources to make textiles, steel and ships. Today, coal and textiles can be produced more cheaply in other countries and so many British factories and mines have closed.

Areas like south Wales, central Scotland, the north of England (the Midlands, Merseyside, Manchester, West Yorkshire and Newcastle) and London were important industrial centres

Coal (non- renewable resources)

Coal mining

England has large deposits of coal, mined for more than 300 years. For most of the 19th and 20th centuries, coal was England's richest natural resource, meeting most of the nation's requirement for energy. Today, coal can be produced more cheaply in other countries and so many British factories and mines have closed.

In 1970 we were the third largest producer of coal but coal production has declined rapidly sine then. In 2000, only 35 million tonnes of coal was produced compared to 145 million in 1970.

Areas like south Wales, central Scotland, the north of England (the Midlands, Merseyside, Manchester, West Yorkshire and Newcastle) and London were important industrial centres.

Oil and Gas (non- renewable resources)

oil rig

Oil and gas were discovered under the North Sea during the 1960s and new supplies are still being found today. Gas has been particularly important in replacing coal as a fuel for generating electricity.

wind turbinesWind Power (renewable resources)

The business of generating electricity from the wind is growing fast as the world looks for cleaner ways to produce energy. Coal, oil and gas fired power stations could eventually be replaced by wind farms and other forms or renewable energy.

In 1997, there were 550 wind turbines and over 30 wind farms in the UK. The government has made a promise that 10% of the energy of the UK will come from renewable sources by 2010.

Minerals (non- renewable resources)

England has relatively few mineral resources. Zinc, tin, iron ore, and copper are all produced in small quantities.

Tin mine
A disused tin mine

At one time Cornwall boasted 2,000 tin mines and it was a world leader in tin production.

Our main commercial minerals are those used in the construction and building industries such as sand and gravel, limestone and gypsum. They are normally mined from the surface in quarries using heavy machinery. Smaller quarries are also found across England and provide stone for the local building industry. This means that many parts of England have a distinctive appearance according to the local stone available.

Agriculture

Farming

Most of the land is suitable for agriculture, although the largest area is reserved for pasture and grazing land. Agriculture provides around 60 per cent on the country's food needs.

Find out more....

Industries in each area of England

 What are Britain's main Trade and Industries?

What are Britain's main exports and imports

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Events and special days in the UK
British Life
Pooh down the River Thames

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© Copyright Mandy Barrow 2013

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Mandy is the creator of the Woodlands Resources section of the Woodlands Junior website. 
The two websites projectbritain.com and primaryhomeworkhelp.co.uk are the new homes for the Woodlands Resources.

Mandy left Woodlands in 2003 to work in Kent schools as an ICT Consulatant. 
She now teaches computers at The Granville School and St. John's Primary School in Sevenoaks Kent.