Metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties of England

Metropolitan and non-metropolitan county
English metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties by type 2009.svg
Category Administrative counties
Location England
Found in Region
Created by Local Government Act 1972
Created 1974
Number 83 (as of 1 April 2009)
Possible types Metropolitan (6)
Non-metropolitan (77)
Possible status Multiple districts with no county council (6 metropolitan counties and 1 non-metropolitan county)
Multiple districts with county council (27 non-metropolitan counties)
Single district with unitary authority (49 non-metropolitan counties)
Subdivisions 36 metropolitan districts
256 non-metropolitan districts
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Metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties are one of the four levels of subdivisions of England used for the purposes of local government outside Greater London and the Isles of Scilly. As originally constituted, the metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties each consisted of multiple districts, had a county council and were also the counties for the purposes of Lieutenancies. Later changes in legislation during the 1980s and 1990s have allowed counties without county councils and 'unitary authority' counties of a single district. Counties for the purposes of Lieutenancies are now defined separately, based on the metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties.

In 2009, there were further structural changes in some areas, resulting in a total of 83 metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties. These 83 counties collectively consist of 292 districts or district-level subdivisions, i.e. 36 metropolitan boroughs and 256 non-metropolitan districts (201 of these are subdivisions of non-metropolitan counties with county councils; 6 are subdivisions (and also unitary authorities, but without non-metropolitan county status) of Berkshire, which is a non-metropolitan county with no county council; and the remaining 49 are unitary authorities that have non-metropolitan county status).

Current metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties of England

Metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties of England
Metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties of England 2009 (numbered).svg
† Metropolitan county (no county council).
‡ Non-metropolitan county with no county council.
** Non-metropolitan county with county council.
* Non-metropolitan county that is also a unitary authority.
¹ Region with no counties.

Metropolitan counties

The metropolitan counties are Greater Manchester, Merseyside, South Yorkshire, Tyne and Wear, West Midlands and West Yorkshire. The counties typically have populations of 1.2 to 2.8 million. [1]

The county councils of these were abolished in 1986, but the counties themselves still exist legally. [2] They are used for some administrative and geographic purposes, and are still ceremonial counties. Most of the powers that the former county councils had were devolved to their metropolitan boroughs, which are now in effect unitary authorities; however, some functions (such as emergency services, civil defence and public transport) are still run jointly on a metropolitan-county-wide basis. [3]

Non-metropolitan counties

Shire counties

A shire county is a non-metropolitan county that has multiple districts. Its name does not need to have shire in it. The term shire county is however unofficial.

There are 28 such counties:

Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Cumbria, Derbyshire, Devon, Dorset, East Sussex, Essex, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, North Yorkshire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Somerset, Staffordshire, Suffolk, Surrey, Warwickshire, West Sussex, Worcestershire.

All, apart from Berkshire, have county councils. Sometimes shire county is used to exclude Berkshire, because it has no county council. The counties have populations of 109,000 to 1.4 million. [1] Under local government reforms coming into effect in 2009, the number of such counties was reduced. The non-metropolitan counties of Bedfordshire and Cheshire were split into two separate non-metropolitan counties respectively, while Cornwall, County Durham, Northumberland, Shropshire and Wiltshire became unitary authorities each of a single district.

Unitary authorities

Unitary authorities are areas with only one council, and there are 55 in total.

49 are coterminous with a non-metropolitan county: 43 (Bath and North East Somerset, Bedford, Blackburn with Darwen, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Brighton and Hove, Bristol, Central Bedfordshire, Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester, Darlington, Derby, East Riding of Yorkshire, Halton, Hartlepool, Herefordshire, Kingston upon Hull, Leicester, Luton, Medway, Middlesbrough, Borough of Milton Keynes, North East Lincolnshire, North Lincolnshire, North Somerset, Nottingham, Peterborough, Plymouth, Poole, Portsmouth, Redcar and Cleveland, Rutland, South Gloucestershire, Southampton, Southend-on-Sea, Stockton-on-Tees, Stoke-on-Trent, Swindon, Telford and Wrekin, Thurrock, Torbay, Warrington, York) of these are defined as counties with a single district council and no county council; the other 6 (the Isle of Wight, Cornwall, Durham, Northumberland, Shropshire and Wiltshire) are technically counties with a county council and no district councils, but the effect is the same.

The remaining 6 unitary authorities (West Berkshire, Reading, Wokingham, Bracknell Forest, Windsor and Maidenhead, Slough) are districts of Berkshire, however they are not non-metropolitan counties, as the non-metropolitan county of Berkshire still exists albeit without a county council; this is a unique situation.

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