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County Durham
Durham, the administrative centre of the district and its largest settlement
Durham, the administrative centre of the district and its largest settlement
Flag of County Durham
Coat of arms of County Durham
Shown within Durham ceremonial county
Shown within Durham ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
RegionNorth East England
Unitary Authority1 April 2009
 • TypeNon-metropolitan district
 • Local AuthorityDurham County Council
 • MPsMary Foy (L)
Dehenna Davison (C)
Paul Howell
Grahame Morris (L)
Kevan Jones (L)
Richard Holden (C)
 • Total522,068 (Ranked 8th)
 • Ethnicity
98.2% White 1.8% Other
Time zoneUTC+0 (Greenwich Mean Time)
Dialling code0191
ISO 3166-2GB-DUR
ONS code00EJ (ONS)
E06000047 (GSS)
WebsiteCouncil website

County Durham is a unitary authority area in the ceremonial county of Durham, North East England. It covers the former non-metropolitan county and its seven districts: Durham (city), Easington, Sedgefield (borough), Teesdale, Wear Valley, Derwentside, and Chester-le-Street.[1] It is governed by Durham County Council and has 136 civil parishes.[2][3][4]

The district is in a ceremonial county with three boroughs: Borough of Darlington, Borough of Hartlepool & Borough of Stockton-on-Tees (area north of the River Tees).

The area is 2,232.6 km2 (862 sq m).


The district was created on the 1 April 2009, following the merger of all the borough and districts (Excluding the boroughs of Darlington, Hartlepool and Stockton-on-Tees) which were already unitary authorities and the towns of Gateshead, Jarrow, South Shields and the city of Sunderland were already part of the Tyne and Wear metropolitan county from 1974.


The district has multiple hamlets and villages. Settlements with town status include Consett, Barnard Castle, Peterlee, Seaham, Bishop Auckland, Newton Aycliffe, Middleton-in-Teesdale, Shildon, Chester-le-Street, Crook, Stanley, Stanhope, Spennymoor, Ferryhill and Sedgefield while Durham is the only city in the district.


Following the 2021 United Kingdom local elections, the council is now under control of a coalition of the Liberal Democrats, Conservative Party, Independents and North East Party.

The district is bounded to the south-west by North Yorkshire and south-east by the boroughs of Darlington, Stockton-on-Tees and Hartlepool. To the north-east of the district is the City of Sunderland and the Borough of Gateshead, to the north-west by Northumberland, Cumbria to the west.


  1. ^ "Durham council leader explains the benefits of a becoming large unitary authority". The Northern Echo. Retrieved 1 August 2021.
  2. ^ "County Durham". Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 23 May 2021.
  3. ^ "Durham unitary authority approved". BBC News. BBC News. 25 July 2007. Retrieved 1 August 2021.
  4. ^ "EXPLANATORY INFORMATION ABOUT THE REFERENDUM OPTIONS FOR SINGLE TIER LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN COUNTY DURHAM". www.legislation.gov.uk. www.legislation.gov.uk. Retrieved 1 August 2021.