United Kingdom

Administrative Division

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland lies in north-western Europe, occupying the major portion of the British Isles. The country’s only land boundary is with the Republic of Ireland. Great Britain, consisting of one large island and a number of smaller ones, comprises England, Scotland to the north and Wales to the west. It is separated from the coast of Western Europe by the English Channel to the south and by the North Sea to the east. The northern and western shores border the Atlantic Ocean. Ireland lies to the west across the Irish Sea.

The United Kingdom comprises Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Great Britain consists of England, Wales and Scotland. All these parts are governed by the central government in London. They have special administrations and certain cultural rights, but no own parliament (excluding Northern Ireland prior to 1970). Laws are commonly passed in parliament with separate acts for England and Wales, for Scotland, and for Northern Ireland. This differentiation is in part because both the Scottish and Ulster legal systems are substantially different from the English (and Welsh), and legislation must be tailored to conform those differences. Each of the four countries has its own traditions and style of local government.

England and Wales

England and Wales are divided into counties, which are grouped in regions for statistical purposes. The primary organ of the county is the elected council. The lower level of local government in England comprises the district councils. The ward has for a long time been the base unit for all British politics. All local elections take place in wards and all parliamentary elections take place in constituencies, which are themselves made up of an agglomeration or aggregation of wards. Wards are not divided into smaller units when constructing parliamentary or European constituencies. On occasion, however, ward boundaries will be changed such that the new ward is split between two or more parliamentary constituencies. Due to the local electoral system, there are elections almost every year. In this way it is difficult to identify a standard electoral cycle, and the matrix displaying local elections becomes complicated. In these elections we can see how wards are born, live and die. From 1979-99 there have been elections in more than 12 000 wards, but there are not more than roughly 8 000 wards existing at a given point of time.


For local government purposes, Scotland is divided into 32 areas designated as "council areas" which are all governed by unitary authorities designated as "councils" or comhairle (Gaelic). The lowest level of sub-division in Scotland is the communities, which have elected community councils (CCs). The main role of the CCs is to act as a channel of local opinion to larger local government bodies. Otherwise they have very limited powers. There are around 1200 communities in Scotland. Not all communities have councils; some have joint councils. Scottish communities are the nearest equivalent to civil parishes in England. In the Eurostat Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics (NUTS), Scotland is divided into 4 units at level 2, and 30 units at level 3.

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland is divided into 26 districts for local government purposes. The councils do not carry out the same range of functions as those in the rest of the United Kingdom. They are not planning authorities, but are consulted on some planning applications. Local government elections in Northern Ireland since 1973 have taken place every four years. At present each council is divided into 3 to 5 district electoral areas (Belfast has 9), which return 5 to 7 councillors (until 1985 there was greater variation in the number and size of districts). According to the Eurostat NUTS structure, Northern Ireland is divided into five units at level 3.

NUTS structure

The United Kingdom has 11 NUTS 1 units, 37 NUTS 2 units, and 137 NUTS 3 units.

Code Country NUTS 1 NUTS 2 NUTS 3
UKC1     Tees Valley and Durham  
UKC11       Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees
UKC12       South Teesside
UKC13       Darlington
UKC14       Durham CC
UKC2     Northumberland and Tyne and Wear  
UKC21       Northumberland
UKC22       Tyneside
UKC23       Sunderland
UKD1     Cumbria  
UKD11       West Cumbria
UKD12       East Cumbria
UKD2     Cheshire  
UKD21       Halton and Warrington
UKD22       Cheshire CC
UKD3     Greater Manchester  
UKD31       Greater Manchester South
UKD32       Greater Manchester North
UKD4     Lancashire  
UKD41       Blackburn with Darwen
UKD42       Blackpool
UKD43       Lancashire CC
UKD5     Merseyside  
UKD51       East Merseyside
UKD52       Liverpool
UKD53       Sefton
UKD54       Wirral
UKE1     East Riding and North Lincolnshire  
UKE11       Kingston upon Hull, City of
UKE12       East Riding of Yorkshire
UKE13       North and North East Lincolnshire
UKE2     North Yorkshire  
UKE21       York
UKE22       North Yorkshire CC
UKE3     South Yorkshire  
UKE31       Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham
UKE32       Sheffield
UKE4     West Yorkshire  
UKE41       Bradford
UKE42       Leeds
UKE43       Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield
UKF1     Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire  
UKF11       Derby
UKF12       East Derbyshire
UKF13       South and West Derbyshire
UKF14       Nottingham
UKF15       North Nottinghamshire
UKF16       South Nottinghamshire
UKF2     Leicestershire, Rutland and Northamptonshire  
UKF21       Leicester
UKF22       Leicestershire CC and Rutland
UKF23       Northamptonshire
UKF3     Lincolnshire  
UKF30       Lincolnshire
UKG1      Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire  
UKG11       Herefordshire, County of
UKG12       Worcestershire
UKG13       Warwickshire
UKG2     Shropshire and Staffordshire  
UKG21       Telford and Wrekin
UKG22       Shropshire CC
UKG23       Stoke-on-Trent
UKG24       Staffordshire CC
UKG3     West Midlands  
UKG31       Birmingham
UKG32       Solihull
UKG33       Coventry
UKG34       Dudley and Sandwell
UKG35       Walsall and Wolverhampton
UKH1     East Anglia  
UKH11       Peterborough
UKH12       Cambridgeshire CC
UKH13       Norfolk
UKH14       Suffolk
UKH2     Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire  
UKH21       Luton
UKH22       Bedfordshire CC
UKH23       Hertfordshire
UKH3     Essex  
UKH31       Southend-on-Sea
UKH32       Thurrock
UKH33       Essex CC
UKI1     Inner London  
UKI11       Inner London - West
UKI12       Inner London - East
UKI2     Outer London  
UKI21       Outer London - East and North East
UKI22       Outer London - South
UKI23       Outer London - West and North West
UKJ1     Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire  
UKJ11       Berkshire
UKJ12       Milton Keynes
UKJ13       Buckinghamshire CC
UKJ14       Oxfordshire
UKJ2     Surrey, East and West Sussex  
UKJ21       Brighton and Hove
UKJ22       East Sussex CC
UKJ23       Surrey
UKJ24       West Sussex
UKJ3     Hampshire and Isle of Wight  
UKJ31       Portsmouth
UKJ32       Southampton
UKJ33       Hampshire CC
UKJ34       Isle of Wight
UKJ4     Kent  
UKJ41       Medway
UKJ42       Kent CC
UKK1     Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and North Somerset  
UKK11       Bristol, City of
UKK12       North and North East Somerset, South Gloucestershire
UKK13       Gloucestershire
UKK14       Swindon
UKK15       Wiltshire CC
UKK2     Dorset and Somerset  
UKK21       Bournemouth and Poole
UKK22       Dorset CC
UKK23       Somerset
UKK3     Cornwall and Isles of Scilly  
UKK30       Cornwall and Isles of Scilly
UKK4     Devon  
UKK41       Plymouth
UKK42       Torbay
UKK43       Devon CC
UKL1       West Wales and The Valleys
UKL11       Isle of Anglesey
UKL12       Gwynedd
UKL13       Conwy and Denbighshire
UKL14       South West Wales
UKL15       Central Valleys
UKL16       Gwent Valleys
UKL17       Bridgend and Neath Port Talbot
UKL18       Swansea
UKL2     East Wales  
UKL21       Monmouthshire and Newport
UKL22       Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan
UKL23       Flintshire and Wrexham
UKL24       Powys
UKM1     North Eastern Scotland  
UKM10       Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire and North East Moray
UKM2     Eastern Scotland  
UKM21       Angus and Dundee City
UKM22       Clackmannanshire and Fife
UKM23       East Lothian and Midlothian
UKM24       Scottish Borders, The
UKM25       Edinburgh, City of
UKM26       Falkirk
UKM27       Perth and Kinross and Stirling
UKM28       West Lothian
UKM3     South Western Scotland  
UKM31       East and West Dunbartonshire, Helensburgh and Lomond
UKM32       Dumfries and Galloway
UKM33       East Ayrshire and North Ayrshire Mainland
UKM34       Glasgow City
UKM35       Inverclyde, East Renfrewshire and Renfrewshire
UKM36       North Lanarkshire
UKM37       South Ayrshire
UKM38       South Lanarkshire
UKM4     Highlands and Islands  
UKM41       Caithness and Sutherland and Ross and Cromarty
UKM42       Inverness and Nairn and Moray, Badenoch and Strathspey
UKM43       Lochaber, Skye and Lochalsh and Argyll and the Islands
UKM44       Eilean Siar (Western Isles)
UKM45       Orkney Islands
UKM46       Shetland Islands
UKN0     Northern Ireland  
UKN01       Belfast
UKN02       Outer Belfast
UKN03       East of Northern Ireland
UKN04       North of Northern Ireland
UKN05       West and South of Northern Ireland

Quick, Michael (1994). Regional Territorial Units in Western Europe since 1945. Mannheimer Zentrum für Europäische Sozialforschung (MZES). EURODATA/ Nr.

Location, Climate, Language, Religion, Flag, Capital (The United Kingdom), in Europa World online. London, Routledge. University of Bergen. Retrieved 26 September 2006 from http://www.europaworld.com/entry/gb.is.2

Eurostat: Nomenclature of territorial units for statistics - NUTS Statistical Regions of Europe