Subdivisions of Scotland

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For local government purposes, Scotland is divided into 32 areas designated as "council areas" which are all governed by unitary authorities[1] designated as "councils". They have the option under the Local Government (Gaelic Names) (Scotland) Act 1997[2] of being known (but not re-designated) as a "comhairle" when opting for a Gaelic name; only Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar (Council of the Western Isles) has chosen this option whereas the Highland Council (Comhairle na Gaidhealtachd) has adopted its Gaelic form alongside its English equivalent informally.

The council areas have been in existence since 1 April 1996, under the provisions of the Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994.

Historically Scotland has been divided into 34 counties or shires. Although these no longer have any administrative function, they are still used to some extent in Scotland for cultural and geographical purposes.

History of the subdivisions of Scotland[edit]

Traditionally burghs have been the key unit of the local government of Scotland, being highly autonomous entities, with rights to representation in the old Parliament of Scotland. Even after the Acts of Union 1707, burghs continued to be the principal subdivision. Until 1889 administration was on a burgh and parish basis.

The years following 1889 saw the introduction of a hierarchy of local government administration comprising counties, counties of cities, large burghs and small burghs.

With effect from 16 May 1975 and until 31 March 1996 the local government divisions of Scotland consisted of an upper tier of regions each containing a lower tier of districts except for the single-tier island council areas.

The 1996 reform of local government in Scotland, enacted by the Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994, studiously avoided specifying a name for the area administered by a unitary authority. The boundaries of each council's jurisdiction often differed from those of both the regions and districts instituted in the 1970s and of the counties established in the 1890s, which were themselves often based on the shires or sheriffdoms, the first of which were established by Malcolm III. When one also takes into account the burghs the true complexity of the matter is revealed. Thus it is not actually known what the correct term for the areas governed by the new unitary councils is or even if there is one.

Council areas[edit]

Scotland Administrative Map 2009.png
MAINLAND Area
(sq miles)
Area
(km²)
Population
(2011)
Density
(per km²)
Aberdeen City 70 182 222,800 1224
Aberdeenshire 2,439 6,317 253,000 40
Angus 843 2,184 116,000 53
Argyll and Bute 2,712 7,023 88,200 13
Clackmannanshire 61 158 51,400 325
Dumfries and Galloway 2,489 6,446 151,300 23
Dundee City 21 55 147,300 2678
East Ayrshire 492 1,275 122,700 96
East Dunbartonshire 68 176 105,000 597
East Lothian 257 666 99,700 150
East Renfrewshire 65 168 90,600 539
City of Edinburgh 100 260 476,600 1833
Falkirk 113 293 156,000 532
Fife 517 1,340 365,200 273
Glasgow City 68 175 593,200 3390
Highland 10,085 26,119 232,100 9
Inverclyde 64 167 81,500 488
Midlothian 135 350 83,200 238
Moray 864 2,237 93,300 42
North Ayrshire 343 888 138,200 156
North Lanarkshire 184 476 337,800 710
Perth and Kinross 2,083 5,395 146,700 27
Renfrewshire 102 263 174,900 665
Scottish Borders 1,825 4,727 113,900 24
South Ayrshire 475 1,230 112,800 92
South Lanarkshire 686 1,778 313,800 176
Stirling 866 2,243 90,200 40
West Dunbartonshire 68 176 90,700 515
West Lothian 165 427 175,100 410
TOTAL MAINLAND 28,260 73,193 5,223,100 71
ISLANDS        
Na h-Eileanan Siar 1,185 3,070 27,700 8
Orkney Islands 396 1,025 21,400 21
Shetland Islands 568 1,471 23,200 15
TOTAL ISLANDS 2,149 5,566 72,300 13
TOTAL SCOTLAND 30,409 78,759 5,295,400 67

Source: 2011 Census for Scotland[3]

Other subdivisions[edit]

Scotland has several other administrative divisions, some of which are handled by joint boards of the councils.

Police and fire services[edit]

As of 1 April 2013 both the Police and fire services became a single National Police Force and a single National Fire Service. In the case of the Police force: The full legal name of the organisation, as described in the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012, is the Police Service of Scotland (Scottish Gaelic: Seirbheis Phoilis na h-Alba). In the case of the Fire Service: The full legal name of the organisation, as described in the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012, is the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS).

Historically[edit]

(Pre 1975)[edit]

Policing was the responsibility of the Cities and Burghs of Scotland. (see List of burghs in Scotland)

(1975 - 2013)[edit]

Police and fire service areas date from the era (1975 to 1996) of regions and districts and island council areas.

Services Original area (former regions) Council areas
Central Scotland Police
Central Scotland Fire and Rescue Service
Central Clackmannanshire, Falkirk and Stirling
Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary
Dumfries and Galloway Fire and Rescue Service
Dumfries and Galloway Dumfries and Galloway
Fife Constabulary
Fife Fire and Rescue Service
Fife Fife
Grampian Police
Grampian Fire and Rescue Service
Grampian Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire and Moray
Lothian and Borders Police
Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service
Lothians and the Scottish Borders City of Edinburgh, East Lothian, Midlothian, Scottish Borders, West Lothian
Northern Constabulary
Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service
Highland, Orkney, Shetland and Western Isles Highland, Na h-Eileanan Siar (Western Isles), Orkney
and Shetland
Strathclyde Police
Strathclyde Fire and Rescue
Strathclyde Argyll and Bute, East Ayrshire, East Dunbartonshire
East Renfrewshire, the City of Glasgow, Inverclyde,
North Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire,
South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire and West Dunbartonshire
Tayside Police
Tayside Fire and Rescue Service
Tayside Angus, the City of Dundee and Perth & Kinross

Electoral and valuation[edit]

There are several joint boards for electoral registration and the purposes of property valuation for assessing council tax and rates.[4]

Joint board area Council areas
Ayrshire
Ayrshire and Arran in other contexts
East Ayrshire, North Ayrshire, South Ayrshire
Borders Scottish Borders
Central Scotland Clackmannanshire, Falkirk, Stirling
Dumfries and Galloway Dumfries and Galloway
Dunbartonshire and Argyll & Bute Argyll and Bute, East Dunbartonshire, West Dunbartonshire
Fife Fife
Grampian Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Moray
Glasgow Glasgow
Highlands and Western Isles Highland and Na h-Eileanan Siar (Western Isles)
Lanarkshire North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire
Lothian East Lothian, Edinburgh, Midlothian, West Lothian
Orkney and Shetland Orkney Islands and Shetland Islands
Renfrewshire East Renfrewshire, Inverclyde, Renfrewshire
Tayside Angus, Dundee, Perth and Kinross

Health[edit]

See also NHS Scotland

Health board area Council areas
Ayrshire and Arran East Ayrshire, North Ayrshire and South Ayrshire
Borders Scottish Borders
Dumfries and Galloway Dumfries and Galloway
Fife Fife
Forth Valley
Central Scotland
in other contexts
Clackmannanshire, Falkirk and Stirling
Grampian Aberdeenshire, City of Aberdeen and Moray
Greater Glasgow and Clyde City of Glasgow, East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire,
Inverclyde, Renfrewshire and West Dunbartonshire, together with
the towns of Cambuslang and Rutherglen in South Lanarkshire
Highland Argyll and Bute and Highland
Lanarkshire North Lanarkshire and South Lanarkshire (excepting the towns of
Cambuslang and Rutherglen which are in the Greater Glasgow and
Clyde health board area)
Lothian City of Edinburgh, East Lothian, Midlothian and West Lothian
Orkney Orkney Islands
Shetland Shetland Islands
Tayside Angus, City of Dundee and Perth and Kinross
Western Isles (Eileanan Siar) Western Isles (Na h-Eileanan Siar)

Transport[edit]

The Scottish Government has created seven "Regional Transport Partnerships", for establishing transport policy in the regions. They broadly follow council area groupings.

RTP area Council areas
NESTRANS Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire
TACTRAN Angus, Dundee, Perth and Kinross, Stirling
HITRANS Argyll and Bute (except Helensburgh and Lomond), Highland, Moray, Western Isles, Orkney
ZetTrans Shetland
SEStran Edinburgh, Clackmannanshire, East Lothian, Falkirk, Midlothian, Fife, Scottish Borders, West Lothian
SWESTRANS Dumfries and Galloway
Strathclyde Partnership for Transport Argyll and Bute (Helensburgh and Lomond only), West Dunbartonshire, East Dunbartonshire, North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, Glasgow, East Renfrewshire, Renfrewshire, Inverclyde, South Ayrshire, East Ayrshire, North Ayrshire

Eurostat NUTS[edit]

In the Eurostat Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics (NUTS), Scotland is a level-1 NUTS region, coded "UKM", which is subdivided as follows:

NUTS 1 Code NUTS 2 Code NUTS 3 Code
Scotland UKM Eastern Scotland UKM2 Angus and Dundee UKM21
NUTS 3 regions of central and southern Scotland map.svg

NUTS 3 regions of Scotland map.svg
Clackmannanshire and Fife UKM22
East Lothian and Midlothian UKM23
Scottish Borders UKM24
Edinburgh UKM25
Falkirk UKM26
Perth and Kinross, and Stirling UKM27
West Lothian UKM28
South Western Scotland UKM3 East Dunbartonshire, West Dunbartonshire, and Helensburgh and Lomond UKM31
Dumfries and Galloway UKM32
East and North Ayrshire mainland UKM33
Glasgow UKM34
Inverclyde, East Renfrewshire, and Renfrewshire UKM35
North Lanarkshire UKM36
South Ayrshire UKM37
South Lanarkshire UKM38
North Eastern Scotland UKM5 Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire UKM50
Highlands and Islands UKM6 Caithness and Sutherland, and Ross and Cromarty UKM61
Inverness, Nairn, Moray, and Badenoch and Strathspey UKM62
Lochaber, Skye and Lochalsh, Arran and Cumbrae, and Argyll and Bute (except Helensburgh and Lomond) UKM63
Eilean Siar (Western Isles) UKM64
Orkney Islands UKM65
Shetland Islands UKM66

Land Registration[edit]

The current land registration system in Scotland divides Scotland into 33 counties,[5] each coming into effect on various dates between 1981 and 2003. These areas in most cases resemble those of the pre-1975 administrative counties with Glasgow being the only current city to form a registration county.

Sheriffdoms[edit]

Sheriffdoms are judicial areas. Since 1 January 1975 these have been six in number:[6]

Civil parishes[edit]

Scotland is divided into 871 civil parishes which often resemble same-named but legally different ecclesiastical parishes. Although they have had no administrative function since 1930, they still exist and are still used for statistical purposes such as the census. Many former civil parish areas also continue to form current registration districts. It should be noted that many boundary changes have occurred over the years and that an area currently derived from an old parish might no longer contain a place previously within that parish. Similarly, county boundaries (as still used for land registration) have also changed over the years such that a parish mentioned historically (generally before the 1860s) as being in one county (or sometimes two due to straddling a border) might now be in a neighbouring county and consequentially in a different succeeding council area.

Communities[edit]

The base level of sub-division in Scotland is that of communities which may elect community councils (CCs). The main role of the CCs is to channel local opinion to larger local-government bodies. Otherwise they have very limited powers. There are around 1,200 communities in Scotland. Not all communities have councils; some have joint councils.

Scottish communities are the nearest equivalent to civil parishes in England.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ With respect to Scotland the phrase "unitary authority" is merely descriptive; in the United Kingdom the phrase "unitary authority" as a designation is specific to local government areas in England.
  2. ^ Local Government (Gaelic Names) (Scotland) Act 1997
  3. ^ 2011 Census: First Results on Population and Household Estimates for Scotland - Release 1B Table 2: Census day usually resident population by council area, 2001 and 2011 , Accessed 22 March 2013
  4. ^ Scottish Assessors Association
  5. ^ Registers of Scotland publication - Land Register Counties and Operational Dates
  6. ^ The Sheriffdoms Reorganisation Order 1974 S.I. 1974/2087 (S.191)