Wikipedia:WikiProject UK geography/Guide

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

This is a project guideline for the use of territorial geographies in Wikipedia:WikiProject UK geography articles

See WP:UKPLACE for the naming of settlement articles and WP:UKCITIES for the layout

There are a variety of geo-political, administrative and other territorial divisions in use in the United Kingdom. UK geography articles should neutrally present the official schemes that are in operation using reliable sources, making clear which set of definitions are being used. This information is mostly intended as a guide for settlement/locality articles, but is applicable for any UK geography article as appropriate.

Local government areas[edit]

  1. Areas for local government named after towns are not coincident with those towns in all cases (WP:UKDISTRICTS gives guidance)
  2. Local government areas (districts and counties in England, counties and county boroughs in Wales, council areas in Scotland, and districts in Northern Ireland) are the primary frame of reference in articles
    • Example Foo is a town in the Bar district of...
  3. The next level frame of reference (ceremonial counties in England, preserved counties in Wales, counties in Northern Ireland, and council areas in Scotland) are used where it gives greater context (WP:UCC also gives guidance)
    • Example Foo is a town in County Durham [rather than] Foo is a town in the County Durham district of the ceremonial county of County Durham
  4. The top level frame of reference is the country within the UK (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales) and is not ordinarily linked
  5. In England locality articles, regions are not usually part of the article prose (but appear in infoboxes)
  6. City status in the United Kingdom is complex and care should be taken with the unqualified use of the word 'city' in articles
  7. Population figures, twinning arrangements, coats of arms etc. should not be presented as "belonging" to a settlement if the like-named local authority is for a larger area
  8. Civil parishes and communities sometimes cover more than one settlement and may require a separate article in some instances
  9. A parish or community council may decide to call itself a town and this is the currently the only "official" definition of a town, but that should not preclude other settlements being described that way
  10. Local government areas are often broken down into ad hoc management areas or devolved council areas, these should be mentioned in articles but not presented to be definitive boundaries of settlements
  11. When linking to local authorities as a geographic area, link to the territorial articles, not articles about the councils
  12. The term 'ceremonial county' is used sparingly, and is normally only needed when explicitly referring to a county, including all associated unitary authorities

Former local government areas[edit]

Before reforms in the 1930s, 1960s and 1970s, local government areas in the United Kingdom were much smaller and corresponded much more closely to the settlements they were named after. However, most districts were based on ancient boundaries and included areas that might no longer be considered part of the settlement, or contained other anomalies.

  1. Statistics presented for former local government areas in settlement articles should make clear the historic area they relate to
  2. Population tables should include a mention of the area designation, such as Foo (parish) or Foo (borough)
  3. Used alone, being part of a historic local government area cannot be used as evidence for one locality "being part" of another
  4. Text should be phrased to present neutral facts such as X was in the ancient parish of Y or X became part of the district of Y when boundaries were adjusted in 1932
  5. Care should be taken as some sources (such as those for twinning arrangements) are for former areas that have since passed on twinning arrangements to the new local authority
  6. Care should be taken when using some sources organised by ancient parish, such as Victoria County History, as the ancient parishes were often much larger than current localities
  7. Former local government areas often form unparished areas and successor parishes and this should be mentioned, but not necessarily used as a definitive boundary of settlements
  8. It is incorrect to describe a geographic locality as being part of a council, use Foo became part of Bar Urban District etc.
  9. Administrative counties are now abolished, it is inaccurate to use the term in the present tense
  10. The term 'administrative county' is used sparingly, and is normally only needed when referring to areas of a county outside county boroughs
  11. Ecclesiastical parishes, which are often based on ancient or civil parishes, cannot be used to define localities and should be mentioned only as part of a section on churches/religion

Statistical geography[edit]

  1. Statistical urban areas and their sub-divisions are subject to constant revision (they get larger and smaller) and care should be taken with comparisons over time
  2. A different density rationale is used for each constituent country, so care should be taken with UK comparisons
  3. Used alone, urban area and sub-divisions should not be used to define the scope of a settlement
  4. Sub-divisions are based on a variety of factors including current and former local authority areas, well-defined localities, or previously separate urban areas and it should not be presented as definitive
  5. Where figures are presented in tables or in an infobox, the territory name and designation (urban area, urban sub-division) must be explicit
  6. It is not acceptable to present The population of X is Y using the figure for X (urban area) or X (urban sub-division)
  7. The correct use is The population of the X urban area is Y or The population of the X urban sub-division, which corresponds to the built-up area of X, is Y

Political wards and constituencies[edit]

Political wards and constituencies are reviewed periodically by boundary committees. Although they are clearly based on settlements, they are devised in order to produce areas with roughly equal numbers of electors. New wards and constituencies are created all the time and significant changes can be made at regular intervals. Care should be taken not to present statistics produced from these areas as being definitive of the settlements they are named after.

  1. Where statistics are presented that are for wards or constituencies, it must be made clear for what area (and type of area) the statistic has been produced
  2. Where figures are presented in tables or in an infobox, the territory name and designation (ward, constituency) must be explicit
  3. It is not acceptable to present The population of X is Y using the figure for X (ward) or X (constituency)
  4. The correct use is The population of X ward is Y or The population of X ward, which roughly corresponds to the built-up area of X, is Y
  5. Ward statistics should be primarily used for providing demographic comparisons with larger areas, not for providing definitive "stand alone" figures of places with the same name
  6. Extreme care must be taken if comparing data over time as the boundaries of these units are frequently altered
  7. If adding together several wards to "build" a statistical picture of the whole settlement, the rationale for using the wards must be made clear (such as a local authority management area)
  8. Where using demographic data from more than ward, do not aggregate the output yourself, present it separately for each ward, unless a third party reliable source has done the aggregation
  9. Population figures can be given, where no other suitable data is produced, but every ward that forms part of the total must be listed and a rationale given for the choice of wards


Postal geography is arranged by the Royal Mail, separately from all other UK territorial geographies. The UK government has no direct involvement with how boundaries are set and it is based on the efficiency of delivering the post. Local authorities have responsibility for naming roads, but have no control over post towns or postcode districts. Therefore, post town and postcode district boundaries are not contiguous with other geographic boundaries.

  1. Postal geography is not used as a primary frame of reference in articles
  2. Used alone, post towns and postcode districts cannot be used as evidence for one locality "being part" of another.
  3. Former postal counties are not used as a frame of reference in articles
  4. "postal area", "postal town" and "postal district" are incorrect, use "postcode area", "post town" and "postcode district"
  5. Post towns are always shown in capitals in tables and infoboxes, following Royal Mail practice
  6. Post towns in prose are written in mixed case, with post town linked; e.g. "Oldham post town", aside from London where "London post town" is used
  7. The postcode areas in the London postal district, each associated with a compass point, should not be used as definitive sub-regional boundaries; for example, the N postcode area is not considered definitive of North London etc.
  8. The postcode districts in the London postal district, that are each associated with a sorting office location, should not be used to define locality boundaries; for example SE5 is not considered definitive of Camberwell
  9. Lists of postcode districts, and information relevant to postal administration, is organised by postcode area, e.g. AB postcode area
  10. The London postal district article exists as there is exceptional/notable difference between geographical and postal London (241 sq miles vs. 607 sq miles)
  11. Information relating to coverage of post towns and postcode districts appears in the Geography section of the relevant locality article (see WP:UKCITIES)
    • Example: Foo is a post town in the AB postcode area, consisting of postcode districts AB1 and AB2. The northern part of the town is covered by the AB1 postcode district and the southern part, including the town centre, is covered by AB2. The Foo post town extends beyond the parish boundary to include the village of Little Bar to the east and part of the village of Great Bar to the south.
  12. We do not have articles for individual postcode units (e.g. AB1 1AA) or postcode districts (e.g. AB1). Instead, detailed accounts of an individual postcode district arrangements form a section in the relevant postcode area article, such as SW postcode area#SW1.
  13. Postcode district article names (e.g. AL1) redirect to the relevant postcode area article (e.g. AL postcode area), unless it is a disambiguation page, in which case an entry is added:
  14. Infoboxes for buildings etc. often include a postcode. This should be the full postcode unit and should be linked to the postcode area article. e.g. [[DA postcode area|DA1 1AA]]. This can also be achieved using {{postcode|DA|1|1|AA}}
  15. For the purposes of infoboxes in locality articles detail no greater than the postcode district is required, e.g. DA1, not sector information, e.g. DA1 3xx

Further reading[edit]