The region has the lowest elevation range in the UK. North Cambridgeshire and the Essex Coast have most of the around 5% of the region which is below 10 metres above sea level. The Fens are partly in North Cambridgeshire which is notable for the lowest point in the country in the land of the village of Holme 2.75 metres (9.0 ft) below mean sea level which was once Whittlesey Mere. The highest point is at Clipper Down at 817 ft (249 m), in the far south-western corner of the region in the Ivinghoe Hills.
Basildon and Harlow (Essex), with Stevenage and Hemel Hempstead (Hertfordshire), were main New Towns in the 1950s and 1960s, with much industry located there; three of these are on motorways, and fairly equidistant from London. In the late 1960s, the Roskill Commission considered Thurleigh in Bedfordshire, Nuthampstead in Hertfordshire and Foulness in Essex as a possible third airport for London.
The East of England succeeded the standard statistical region East Anglia (excluding Essex, Hertfordshire or Bedfordshire then in the South East). The East of England civil defence region was identical to today's region.
East Anglia and overlap with Home Counties
England between the Wash and just south of the town of Colchester has since post-Roman times (6th century) been and continues to be known as East Anglia, including the county traversing the west of this line, Cambridgeshire. The inclusion of Essex as part of East Anglia is open to debate, notably because it was a Saxon kingdom, separate from the kingdom of the East Angles.
Essex, despite meaning East-Saxons, previously formed part of the South East England, as did Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, a mixture of definite and debatable Home Counties. The earliest use of the term is from 1695. Charles Davenant, in An essay upon ways and means of supplying the war, wrote, "The Eleven Home Counties, which are thought in Land Taxes to pay more than their proportion..." then cited a list including these four. The term does not appear to have been used in taxation since the 18th century.