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Unitary authority

Unitary authority is a term used in the United Kingdom for a local government body which forms a single tier of administration. Traditionally there would be a two-tier arrangement where each county had a council and contained multiple districts with councils of their own. The area administered by a unitary authority is called a "unitary authority area" or sometimes a "unitary district".

Scotland and Wales consistently use unitary authorities. They have been becoming common in England since the 1990s. However the two-tier arrangement (increasing to three-tiers, for the remaining counties) has remained in a different form due to the introduction of a regional level of administration.

Listings of unitary authorities in England can be found by region.


A unitary authority in New Zealand refers to a territorial authority (district or city) which does not have an encompassing regional council. They are listed under Region (New Zealand).



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