Scope and structure
West Sussex and
non-metropolitan counties of multiple districts with a
county council. In these counties most services are provided by the county council and the district councils have a more limited role. Their areas each correspond exactly to
There are six
metropolitan counties which are based on the major English
conurbations; and they also correspond exactly to a ceremonial county and have multiple districts, but do not have county councils. They are
Greater Manchester, Merseyside,
South Yorkshire, Tyne and Wear,
West Midlands and
In these counties the district councils provide the majority of services. Similarly, Berkshire is a non-metropolitan county with no county council and multiple districts and maps directly to a ceremonial county.
Isle of Wight, Northumberland and
Rutland are ceremonial counties consisting of a non-metropolitan county of a single district, and are known as
Dorset, East Sussex,
Lincolnshire, North Yorkshire,
Nottinghamshire, Somerset and
Staffordshire are non-metropolitan counties with multiple districts and a county council, where one or more districts have been split off to form unitary authorities. The effect is that the corresponding ceremonial county is larger than the non-metropolitan county of the same name and the county council is responsible for providing services in only part of the county. In
Durham, East Riding of Yorkshire,
Wiltshire the bulk of the area is a unitary authority which shares the name of the ceremonial county and the rest of county is part of one or more other unitary authorities.
In total, there are 39 unitary authorities that do not share the names of any of the ceremonial counties.
Cheshire are counties that consist of a number of unitary authorities, none of which has the same name as the ceremonial county. The
City of London and Greater London are anomalous as ceremonial counties that do not correspond to any metropolitan or non-metropolitan counties, and pre-date their creation.
The metropolitan counties have
passenger transport executives to manage public transport, a role undertaken by the local authorities of non-metropolitan counties and
Transport for London in Greater London. Large ceremonial counties often correspond to a single police force. For example, the four unitary authorities which make up Cheshire correspond to the same area as the
Some counties are grouped together for this purpose, such as Northumberland with Tyne and Wear to form the
Northumbria Police area. In other areas a group of unitary authorities in several counties are grouped together to form police force areas, such as the
Cleveland Police and
Greater London and the City of London each have their own police forces, the
Metropolitan Police Service and the
City of London Police. The
fire service is operated on a similar basis, and the
ambulance service is organised by the
regions of England. Most ceremonial counties form part of a single region, although Lincolnshire and North Yorkshire are divided between regions.
Economic development is delivered using the regions, as is
Comparative areas and populations
As of 2009, the
largest county by area is North Yorkshire and the smallest is the
City of London. The smallest county with multiple districts is Tyne and Wear and the
smallest non-metropolitan county with a county council is Buckinghamshire. The
county with the highest population is Greater London and the lowest is the City of London.
Greater London and the metropolitan counties are all in the 15
largest by population and the 15
smallest by area. Greater London has the highest population density, while the lowest is found in Northumberland. By area, the largest ceremonial county consisting of a single-district non-metropolitan county is Northumberland and the smallest is Bristol. By population the largest such county is Bristol and the smallest is Rutland.
Slough is the smallest unitary authority by area that is not also a ceremonial county and
Cheshire East is the largest.
Hartlepool is the smallest such unitary authority by population and
Cheshire West and Chester is the largest. The
Isles of Scilly is smaller both in terms of area and population. The highest
population density of any metropolitan or non-metropolitan county is found in
Portsmouth and the lowest is found in