Wards of the United Kingdom

Wards of the United Kingdom

A ward in the United Kingdom is an electoral district at subnational level represented by one or more councillors. It is the primary unit of British administrative and electoral geography (except in the Isles of Scilly).

Scotland, the London boroughs and the metropolitan boroughs, and the non-metropolitan districts (including most unitary authorities) are divided into wards for elections.

Elections in Wales and English county council elections (including the Isle of Wight unitary authority), instead use 'electoral division'.

In shire county areas with both wards and electoral divisions, the two types of divisions may bear no relation to each other, but generally wards will be used as building blocks for county electoral divisions, or will be used as-is but electing fewer councillors.

As of 2004 there are 10,661 electoral wards (including Welsh and Wight electoral divisions) in the UK, with an average population of 5,500 ( [http://www.statistics.gov.uk/geography/electoral_wards.asp Office for National Statistics] ).

In urban areas the wards within a local authority area generally contain roughly the same number of electors and elect three councillors. In local authorities with mixed urban and rural areas the number of councillors may vary from one to three depending on the size of the electorate.

A ward can be coterminious with a civil parish or consist of groups of civil parishes. Larger civil parishes can be divided into two or more wards.

Parish and community wards also exist, which are subdivisions of parishes or communities, and used for elections to parish and community councils. They need not bear any relation to district wards.

The four most northerly ancient counties of England namely, Cumberland, Westmorland, County Durham and Northumberland were divided into administrative units called wards instead of hundreds or wapentakes, as in other counties.

External links

* [http://www.statistics.gov.uk/geography/geographic_area_listings/downloads/WD_UK_NC.xls ONS list of UK wards as of 2005] (Excel)

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