Association of British Counties
The Association of British Counties
is a pressure group in the United Kingdom
dedicated to preserving the traditional counties
. It publishes a bi-annual journal, and despite its name is an association of people, not counties. Its president is the popular astrologer
, Russell Grant
It believes that the traditional counties are part of Britain's cultural heritage and should be preserved. To this end it has produced a postal directory putting British place names in what it considers to be the correct historic county, in additional to cross-referencing this with various other administrative areas, noting alternatives where the correct county is debatable and providing detailed discussion of these instances where they occur.
It also seeks to officially change the government terminology to bring it in line with the 1888 Local Government Act - the original piece of leglislation which created the modern administrative counties. This act specifically called them "administrative counties", and the ABC wishes to see this terminology consistently used to describe them. Also it wishes to see the term "county" stripped from most unitary authorities.
It says it wishes this to happen because it will remove what it sees as confusion that has resulted over the status of various entities termed counties since 1965. In particular, it uses scare quotes around the word 'county' when not referring to the traditional counties in order to emphasise its opposition to the use of this term.
The historic Counties of Great Britain are fundamental to our culture. Older than cathedrals, more historic than stately homes, Counties like Lincolnshire, Cornwall, Middlesex, Anglesey and Fife are basic to our life. Their names belong to the ground we tread. They are an indelible part of our history. They are important cultural entities.
Other policies include
- Compelling the Ordnance Survey to mark traditional county borders on their maps
- Making the ceremonial counties match the historic ones, and thus re-abolishing the centuries old office of Lord-Lieutenant of Bristol, whilst restoring other centuries old offices.
- That the English regions should be tweaked in to order ensure that historic counties 'be brought wholly within one region or another'
The latter point would mean various local authorities would need to be changed. Currently the border between the London region and the South-East straddles numerous traditional borders - so London and the South-East region would probably need to be merged. Some areas not part of Yorkshire and the Humber
would be moved to a different local authority in order that they could be part of this region, as region boundaries never split authorities. Also North East Lincolnshire
and North Lincolnshire
would become part of the East Midlands
Region. Another minor point is the town of Crayke, which is a traditional exclave of County Durham
, which is now part of the Yorkshire and the Humber Region. To be integrated into the North East England
region, it would need to be placed under the control of Durham County Council.
However, it also states on its FAQ
- Q. Does ABC seek further local government reorganisation ?
No, but we do wish to see reforms to certain parts of local government terminology.