Highland (council area)

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Highland
A' Ghàidhealtachd  (Scottish Gaelic)
Hieland  (Scots)
Highland in Scotland.svg
Flag of HighlandA' Ghàidhealtachd  (Scottish Gaelic)Hieland  (Scots)
Flag
Coat of arms of HighlandA' Ghàidhealtachd  (Scottish Gaelic)Hieland  (Scots)
Coat of arms
Coordinates: 57°30′N 5°00′W / 57.500°N 5.000°W / 57.500; -5.000Coordinates: 57°30′N 5°00′W / 57.500°N 5.000°W / 57.500; -5.000
Admin HQ Inverness
Government
 • Body The Highland Council
www.highland.gov.uk
(Comhairle na Gaidhealtachd
www.gaidhealtachd.gov.uk)
 • Control Ind + LD + Lab (council NOC)
 • MPs
 • MSPs
Area
 • Total 9,906 sq mi (25,657 km2)
Area rank Ranked 1st
Population (mid-2016 est.)
 • Total 234,800
 • Rank Ranked 7th
 • Density 20/sq mi (9/km2)
ONS code S12000017
ISO 3166 code GB-HLD

Highland (Scottish Gaelic: A' Ghàidhealtachd; pronounced [kɛːəl̪ˠt̪əxk])[1] is a council area in the Scottish Highlands and is the largest local government area in the United Kingdom. It was the 7th most populous council area at the 2011 census. It shares borders with the council areas of Aberdeenshire, Argyll and Bute, Moray and Perth and Kinross. Their councils, and those of Angus and Stirling, also have areas of the Scottish Highlands within their administrative boundaries.

The Highland area covers most of the mainland and inner-Hebridean parts of the historic counties of Inverness-shire and Ross and Cromarty, all of Caithness, Nairnshire and Sutherland and small parts of Argyll and Moray.

Name

Unlike the other council areas of Scotland, the name Highland is often not used as a proper noun. The council's website only sometimes refers to the area as being Highland, and other times as being the Highland Council Area or the Highlands.[2][3] Road signs on the boundary of the council area say "Welcome to the Highlands" rather than "Welcome to Highland". It should be noted however that the council area does not cover the whole of the Scottish Highlands.

To many people within the area, using the name Highland as a noun sounds wrong. Dingwall in Highland, for example, sounds strange and is not idiomatic usage. To refer specifically to the area covered by the council, people tend to say the Highland Council area or the Highland area or the Highland region. Otherwise, they may also refer to the traditional county names, such as Ross.[citation needed]

History

In 1975, the area was created as a two-tier region, under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, with an elected council for the whole region and, in addition, elected councils for each of eight districts, Badenoch and Strathspey, Caithness, Inverness, Lochaber, Nairn, Ross and Cromarty, Skye and Lochalsh and Sutherland.[4] The act also abolished county and burgh councils.

In 1996, under the Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994, the Highland Regional Council and the district councils were wound up and their functions were transferred to a new Highland Council. The Highland Council adopted the districts as management areas and created area committees to represent them. However, the boundaries of committee areas ceased to be aligned exactly with those of management areas as a result of changes to ward boundaries in 1999. Ward boundaries changed again in 2007, and the management areas and related committees have now been abolished in favour of three new corporate management areas: Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross; Inverness, Nairn and Badenoch and Strathspey; and Ross, Skye and Lochaber. The names of these areas are also names of constituencies, but the boundaries are different.

Geography

Topographic map of the Highland council area.[citation needed]

The Highland Council is based in Inverness, with most previous district council offices retained as outstations.[citation needed]

The council area covers an area of 25,657 square kilometres (9,906 sq mi)[5] — which is 11.4% of the land area of Great Britain, 32.9% of the land area of Scotland and an area 20% larger than Wales.[6] The Highland and Islands division of Police Scotland also includes the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland (the former area of the Northern Constabulary) and therefore covers an area of 30,659 square kilometres (11,838 sq mi), which is larger than that of the state of Belgium.[7]

Though relatively populous for a Scottish council area, it is also sparsely populated. At 9.0 per km2 in 2012,[8] the population density is less than one seventh of Scotland's as a whole,[8] and comparable with that of Bolivia, Chad and Russia.[9][10] Historically, the area was home to a much higher percentage of Scotland's population. The population of the Highlands (both within and outwith the council area) declined in the late 19th century even as Scotland's grew substantially. This was due to a combination of factors that included the outlawing of the traditional Highland way of life following the Jacobite Rising of 1745, the infamous Highland Clearances, and mass migration to urban areas during the Industrial Revolution. For example, the population of Skye declined from 23,082 in 1841 to 15,705 in 1891 and a low point of 7,183 in 1971, before growing in more recent decades.

Inverness is by far the largest settlement, with a population of 46,870 in 2012.[11] The urban area around Inverness includes a few outlying villages and has a population of 59,910.[12]

The highest point in the Highland council area is Ben Nevis, the tallest mountain in both Scotland and the United Kingdom as a whole. Its northernmost point is Stroma, a small island in the Pentland Firth. Its southernmost point is on the Morvern peninsula. Highland contains the northernmost and westernmost points of the island of Great Britain, respectively at Dunnet Head and Corrachadh Mòr. Despite the name, not all of Highland is mountainous. The areas east of Inverness, as well as the Black Isle, eastern Sutherland, and all of Caithness are, in fact, low-lying.

Gaelic language

According to the 2011 UK census, there are nearly 12,000 Scottish Gaelic speakers in the Highland area.[13]

Politics

Councillors

The Highland Council represents 22 wards, of which each elects three or four councillors by the single transferable vote system of election, to produce a form of proportional representation in a council of 80 members.

Political composition

Following the 2017 election, resulted in the following composition: [14]

Party Councillors
Independent 28
SNP 22
Conservative 10
Liberal Democrat 10
Labour 3
Scottish Green 1

Members of the Scottish Parliament

For elections to the Scottish Parliament the Highland area is within the Highlands and Islands electoral area, which elects eight first past the post constituency Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) and seven additional member MSPs. Three of the region's constituencies, each electing one MSP, are within the Highland area: Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, Inverness and Nairn and Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch.

Members of Parliament

In the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom the Highland area is represented by Members of Parliament (MPs) elected from three constituencies: Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross; Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey; and Ross, Skye and Lochaber. Each constituency elects one MP by the first past the post system of election.

Towns and villages in the Highland Council Area

Historical Highland population
Year Pop. ±%
1801 164,294 —    
1811 173,235 +5.4%
1821 196,364 +13.4%
1831 211,947 +7.9%
1841 213,969 +1.0%
1851 220,004 +2.8%
1911 226,144 +2.8%
1921 176,396 −22.0%
1931 167,604 −5.0%
1941 166,602 −0.6%
1951 165,600 −0.6%
1961 169,133 +2.1%
1971 172,666 +2.1%
1981 186,916 +8.3%
1991 203,790 +9.0%
2001 208,914 +2.5%
2011 232,132 +11.1%
Source:
[15][16]

See also

References

  1. ^ Gàidhealtachd is used to translate Highland; in other contexts it is used to translate Scottish Highlands and Gaeldom
  2. ^ "Council Wards". The Highland Council. 
  3. ^ "Our vision for housing in the Highlands". The Highland Council. 
  4. ^ "Highland". BBC. Retrieved 11 October 2015. 
  5. ^ "Standard Area Measurements (2016) for Administrative Areas in the United Kingdom". Office for National Statistics. 1 February 2017. Retrieved 9 February 2017. 
  6. ^ "Breaking up Highland Council into smaller areas debated". BBC News. 14 May 2015. 
  7. ^ "Record police numbers on streets". BBC News. 28 August 2009. 
  8. ^ a b "Highland profile - key facts and figures". The Highland Council. Retrieved 2 June 2014. 
  9. ^ List of sovereign states and dependent territories by population density
  10. ^ "Global Health Facts : Demography & Population : Population Density (Population Per Square Kilometer)". The Henry J Kaiser Family Foundation. Retrieved 2 June 2014. 
  11. ^ "Mid-2012 Population Estimates for Settlements and Localities in Scotland". National Records Scotland (NRS). Retrieved 29 October 2015. 
  12. ^ "Mid-2012 Population Estimates for Settlements and Localities in Scotland". National Records Scotland (NRS). Retrieved 29 October 2015. 
  13. ^ "Gaelic data from Census 2011". The Highland Council. 14 November 2013. Retrieved 11 October 2015. 
  14. ^ http://www.highland.gov.uk/info/20003/committee_information/495/highland_council/4
  15. ^ Vision of Britain
  16. ^ Vision of Britain: 1911 Census of Scotland, County Report

External links

  • Highland (council area) at DMOZ
  • The Highland Council (in English)
  • Comhairle na Gaidhealtachd (in Scottish Gaelic)
  • The Highland council area in the Gazetteer for Scotland website
  • Scottish Highlands and Islands Film Commission
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