Despite its small size, variety of scene is the main characteristic of the United Kingdom. Lowland England is the largest area of flat plain. Uplands predominate in northern and western England. Numerous broad river valleys, known locally as dales, drain eastward across the mountains into the Vale of York, a north-south extension of lowland England that serves as the main route northward into Scotland. Unlike England, the topography of Wales and Scotland is dominated more by mountains and uplands than by lowlands. The highest mountain in Wales rises to 1,085 m. The structural depression forming the Scottish Central Lowlands extends southwestward across the Irish Sea, to the west of Belfast in Northern Ireland. Scenic mountains of low elevation border the lowland on all sides.
The United Kingdom has a highly variable temperate marine west-coast type of climate. Mountainous west coast areas generally receive more than 2,540 mm of rain a year, but rainfall amounts diminish rapidly eastward. No permanent snows exist, but snow may lie on the ground for 2 months or more in the Cairngorm Mountains and other parts of the Highlands. In winter, temperatures are colder in the east than in the west. The average temperature in January is 4°C in London and 2°C in Aberdeen. Snow covers the ground for about 18 days in Aberdeen, an average of 6 days in London, and hardly at all along the entire southern coast or the west coast as far north as Glasgow. In summer, a more normal decrease in temperature from south to north occurs; average July temperatures range from about 17°C on the southern coast and in London, to 12°C in the north of Scotland.
The population is highly urbanized. The most densely populated part of the United Kingdom is England, with 354 persons per sq km; Scotland has a density of 65 per sq km; Wales, 134 per sq km; and Northern Ireland, 110 per sq km. About 30% of the total population is concentrated in the Greater London area and seven other conurbations. Another 30% of the population is urbanized in smaller towns with more than 50,000 inhabitants, including the environs of Belfast, Cardiff, and Glasgow. The most sparsely populated areas are the Highlands of Scotland, upland areas of Wales, and the Pennines. The greatest losses of population are occurring in the mining valleys of South Wales and in inner-city areas of Liverpool, Manchester, and Glasgow. Total population is 58,489,975 (World Factbook, July 1996 est.).
Stations from the IDMP Network measure both daylight and solar radiation.

IDMP Network/Edinburgh

Lat.: 55°57' N
Long.: 3°12' E
Height above sea level: 110 m

Tariq Muneer
Napier University
Department of Mechanical Engineering
10 Colinton Road
Edinburgh EH10 5DT, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 131 455 2541
Fax: +44 131 455 2264

IDMP Network/Garston

Lat.: 51°43' N
Long.: 0°22' W
Height above sea level: 80 m

Paul Littlefair
Building Research Establishment
GarstonWatford WD27JR,
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 1923 664 874
Fax: +44 1923 664 782

IDMP Network/Manchester

Lat.: 53°28' N
Long.: 2°14' W
Height above sea level: 62 m

Peter Tregenza
School of Architectural Studies
The University of Sheffield
PO Box 595
Sheffield S10 2UJ, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 1142 76 85 55
Fax: +44 1142 79 82 76

IDMP Network/Sheffield

Lat.: 53°23' N
Long.: 1°29' W
Height above sea level: 140 m

Peter Tregenza
School of Architectural Studies
The University of Sheffield
PO Box 595
Sheffield S10 2UJ, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 1142 76 85 55
Fax: +44 1142 79 82 76

Clock Time: GMT+0. Summer time shift (GMT+1), from last Sunday in March,
to Saturday before last Sunday in October.

The UK Building Regulations (available from Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London) are mandatory in new and materially altered buildings. Although there is no significant daylighting requirement, the approved Document to Part L (1995) contains requirements for electric lighting efficacy and lighting controls in non-domestic buildings, and limits on window area to avoid heat loss.

  1. "BS8206 Part 2: Code of practice for daylighting". It is the UK Standard, giving non-mandatory guidance. It is available from the British Standards Institution, in Milton Keynes.

  2. "Applications Manual: Window Design", 1987. It is a valuable design guide available from the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) in London.

  3. "Site layout planning for daylight and sunlight", 1991. It includes information on protection of daylight to existing buildings, including a summary of UK rights to light law. It is available from the Building Research Establishment in Garston.

  4. "The CIBSE Interior Lighting Code", 1994. It is the design standard for electric lighting in buildings. It is available from CIBSE.

These and other publications and data are available from the Meteorological Office in Bracknell Berkshire. They also publish the "Monthly, Weather Report" and the "Meteorological Magazine".

  1. DRG Hunt, "Availability of daylight", 1979. It gives global horizontal data for seven sites, and diffuse data for Kew and Bracknell. It is available from the Building Research Establishment (BRE) in Garston.

  2. "Sunlight availability protractor", 1975. It is available from BRE.

  3. "Solar radiation data for the United Kingdom, 1951-75" Met. Office 912, 1975.

  4. "Tables of total cloud amount for the UK, 1957-76", Climato. Memorandum 110.

  5. "Averages of bright sunshine for the UK,1941-70" Met O 884, 1976.

  6. J Page and R Lebens, "Climate in the United Kingdom", 1986. This is available from Her Majesty's Stationery Office in London.
Building Research Establishment (BRE)
Garston, Watford WD2 7JR
Tel: +44 1923 894040
Fax: +44 1923 664010

British Standards Institution (BSI)
Linford Wood, Milton Keynes MK14 6LE
Tel: +44 1908 220022

Meteorological Office
London Road
Bracknell, Berkshire RG12 2SZ
Tel: +44 1344 420242
Eur.Ing.I.F.Davies, CIBSE
Delta House, 222 Balham High Road
London, SW12 9BS
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 1816 755211
Fax: +44 1816 755449
CIE on the Internet.


More information is available at Amadeus or the Electric Library

Back to Country Info Main Page