Britain's interest in the Arctic stretches back over half a millennia. British explorers, companies, ships and scientists have at various times been at the forefront of bringing the Arctic into wider global, economic, political, scientific and cultural networks. This paper offers a glimpse into how the Arctic is seen by UK civil servants in the contemporary British government, as well as the challenges they face in reconciling the Arctic with broader global interests. No formal Arctic Strategy has been published although there has been a tentative declaration of intent. Lastly, the paper suggests how the UK can make a constructive contribution to the region through the development of a formal strategy.
Duncan Depledge is Postgraduate Research Student at Royal Holloway, University of London, United Kingdom.