For an example look at this article. This is obviously a set policy for South Wales because they do it consistently and seem to have done so for a number of years.
However, the policy doesn’t seem consistent with other areas – for example they don’t refer to the “north east” of England but the “North East“.
For me and most people who live here this is a strange thing to do – South Wales is a clear, distinct regional area. Yes we do live in the geographic south of Wales but we also live in South Wales!
The BBC itself seems confused – if you visit one of its regional pages then they use every variance of capitalisation going – mixed case – “South Wales”, lower case – “south east Wales” and even all lower case in the title – “south east” though this is obviously down to styling rather than grammar.
I guess that all of the backing I need is in the names of papers obtainable via Google Scholar. If you search for “south wales” there, then every academic paper comes back with South Wales capitalised the correct way.
Why does it bother me? Well it subjugates the region – it makes it appear that it doesn’t exist – when we all know that it does!
So the policy of this website is South Wales with a capital “S” !
Update 4th March 2009: I found a good article here that confirms my view. Come on BBC change your policy!