County Regions and “County” Confusion

YDM support the devolution and federalisation of England in the form of County Regions within the Unted Kingdom. By, “County Regions”, we mean, regions comprising whole, integral, traditional, Counties, either singularly, as Yorkshire would want, or collaboratively, as Westmorland, Lancashire & Cheshire might want.

One hurdle on the way to achieving this goal is the confusion that has existed regarding the word, “county”, since the Local Government Act 1972 was implemented on April Fools’ Day in 1974. This Act created new Local Government Areas with boundaries very different to those of traditional Counties, yet most of them were given the name of a traditional County and the Local Authority of many of them were called, “County Councils”. Compounding the confusion further was the introduction of new Lieutenancies with boundaries and names identical to those of the new Local Government Areas; these became referred to as, “Ceremonial Counties”. Unsurprisingly, then, these new entities have been referred to as new “counties” and that has given rise to the erroneous belief that the traditional Counties no longer exist. They absolutely do exist!

We are pleased that the Government has produced material that not only gives Official Recognition to traditional Counties (“Historic Counties”, as they refer to them) but supports the continued importance of them and gives Guidance to Local Authorities on recognising Counties that have boundaries with or within the area for which they have administrative responsibility. For example, the Counties of Cumberland, Westmorland, Lancashire, Yorkshire, County Durham and Northumberland currently all have boundaries with or within the area for which “Cumbria County Council” has administrative responsibility. The Government Guidance includes marking the boundaries of such Counties, flying the flags of traditional Counties, and holding events in celebration of the heritage of traditional Counties. You can find further Government material related to this, here.

In order to end the confusion, we actively campaign for:

  1. The boundaries of traditional Counties to be used as the boundaries of Lieutenancies so that traditional Counties and Lieutenancies are co-terminus.
  2. Traditional Counties to be adopted as the standard “Fixed Frame of Reference” by authorities, business and media.
  3. An end to Local Government Areas being called by the name of a traditional County where its boundaries are not co-terminus with those of that traditional County.
  4. An end to Local Authorities being called a “County Council” unless their boundaries are co-terminus with those of a traditional County.
  5. An end to referring to Local Government Areas and Lieutenancies as, “Counties”.

These goals are supported in the House of Commons and in the House of Lords, as well as by members of the public and by campaign groups, as the following links show:

Questions in the House of Commons: Andrew Gwynne MP

Debate in the House of Lords: “What plans are there to ensure the preservation of England’s Historic Counties?” (play from 0:00 – 9:40 minutues)

Websites of some of the organisations regarding these issues are:

Association of British Counties

British Counties Campaign

Campaign for Historic Counties

The Historic Counties Trust


Yorkshire Ridings Society

Friends of Real Lancashire

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