North Lanarkshire
North Lanrikshire
Siorrachd Lannraig a Tuath
North Lanarkshire in Scotland.svg
Coat of arms of North Lanarkshire
Official logo of North Lanarkshire
Coordinates: 55°49′44″N 3°55′19″W / 55.829°N 3.922°W / 55.829; -3.922Coordinates: 55°49′44″N 3°55′19″W / 55.829°N 3.922°W / 55.829; -3.922
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Lieutenancy areasLanarkshire (Part)
Dunbartonshire (Part)
Admin HQMotherwell
 • BodyNorth Lanarkshire Council
 • ControlLabour minority (council NOC)
 • MPs
 • MSPs
 • Total181.4 sq mi (469.9 km2)
 • RankRanked 19th
 • Total340,180
 • RankRanked 4th
 • Density1,900/sq mi (720/km2)
ONS codeS12000044
ISO 3166 codeGB-NLK

North Lanarkshire (Scots: North Lanrikshire; Scottish Gaelic: Siorrachd Lannraig a Tuath) is one of 32 council areas of Scotland. It borders the north-east of the City of Glasgow and contains many of Glasgow's suburbs and commuter towns and villages. It also borders East Dunbartonshire, Falkirk, Stirling, South Lanarkshire and West Lothian. The council area covers parts of the historic counties of Dunbartonshire, Lanarkshire and Stirlingshire. The council is based in Motherwell.

The area was formed in 1996 covering the districts of Cumbernauld and Kilsyth, Motherwell, and Monklands, plus the Chryston and Auchinloch area from Strathkelvin district, all of which had been in Strathclyde region between 1975 and 1996. As a new single-tier authority, North Lanarkshire became responsible for all functions previously performed by both the regional council and the district councils, which were abolished.


The largest part of North Lanarkshire, being the approximately two-thirds of the council area lying generally south of the Luggie Water, was in the historic county of Lanarkshire. Lanarkshire had existed as a shire from around the time of King David I, who ruled Scotland from 1124 to 1153.[1] The county took its name from the original county town at Lanark, now in South Lanarkshire, which had been the site of the first Parliament of Scotland under Kenneth II in 978.[2] The northern parts of what is now North Lanarkshire were in the counties of Dunbartonshire and Stirlingshire prior to 1975, with Cumbernauld and the area generally north of Luggie Water and south of the River Kelvin being in Dunbartonshire, and Kilsyth and the area north of the Kelvin being in Stirlingshire.[3] Prior to the 1975 reforms there were five burghs in the area now covered by North Lanarkshire:[4]

The population of the area which would become North Lanarkshire grew quickly during the Industrial Revolution. In the 18th century the area's towns, including Motherwell, were active in textile production. The discovery of coal and iron ore deposits in the 19th century, as well as the building of the Glasgow to Edinburgh railway, transformed the region. The towns of Motherwell, Coatbridge and Wishaw became centres of the iron and steel industry.[7]

These industries began to decline in the second half of the 20th century, while a growth occurred in the financial and technology sectors, as well as a growth in logistics services related to the heavy goods traffic in the area. The new town of Cumbernauld expanded rapidly after World War II, and is now the largest town in North Lanarkshire. The growth of the Greater Glasgow metropolitan area into the south-western part of North Lanarkshire has also led to a large number of residential areas for commuters.[3]

The North Lanarkshire council area was established in 1996 as part of a reorganisation of local government in the United Kingdom.[8] This was the latest in a series of reforms, notably including the creation of Lanarkshire County Council in 1890 under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1889, and the abolition of the county councils and creation of Strathclyde Regional council and lower-tier district councils in 1975 under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973.[9] The 1996 reform abolished Strathclyde, and established North Lanarkshire as a merger of the districts of Cumbernauld and Kilsyth, Monklands, Motherwell and the Chryston area from Strathkelvin district (the rest of which went to East Dunbartonshire).[10][11]

For lieutenancy purposes, North Lanarkshire straddles the Lanarkshire and Dunbartonshire lieutenancies, with the area generally north of Luggie Water (including Cumbernauld and Kilsyth) coming under the Dunbartonshire lieutenancy and the remainder coming under the Lanarkshire lieutenancy.[12][13]

Geography and demographics

North Lanarkshire lies in the Central Valley of Scotland, to the east of Glasgow. It lies on the Scotland's north–south watershed with the River Clyde flowing through the west of the county on its way to the Irish Sea, and the River Almond in the east emptying into the Firth of Forth near Edinburgh.[14] The northern areas consist of forests as well as higher areas such as the Kilsyth Hills.[3]

The highest population density of North Lanarkshire is in the urbanised south-west, which is part of the Greater Glasgow metropolitan area. Northern and eastern areas are more rural in character, with agricultural activity such as dairy and meat farming.[3] The largest towns in North Lanarkshire are Cumbernauld, which in 2022 had a population of approximately 58,000, followed by Coatbridge (43,970), Airdrie (37,130) and Motherwell (32,120).[15] Other localities include Bellshill, Bargeddie, Moodiesburn, Shotts, Viewpark and Wishaw.


Political control

The first election to North Lanarkshire Council was held in 1995, initially operating as a shadow authority alongside the outgoing authorities until the new system came into force on 1 April 1996. Political control of the council since 1996 has been as follows:[16]

Party in control Years
Labour 1996–2017
No overall control 2017–present


The leaders of the council since 1996 have been:[17]

Councillor Party From To
Harry McGuigan Labour 1 Apr 1996 17 Sep 1998
Jim McCabe[18] Labour 17 Sep 1998 29 Feb 2016
Jim Logue Labour 8 Mar 2016 May 2022
Jordan Linden[19] SNP 19 May 2022 27 Jul 2022
Jim Logue Labour 11 Aug 2022

Political composition

See also: Category:North Lanarkshire Council elections

As of 11 August 2022, the council composition is:[20]

Party Councillors
SNP 35
Labour 32
Conservative 5
Independent 3
Green 1


Motherwell Civic Centre, headquarters of North Lanarkshire Council, located in Motherwell
Motherwell Civic Centre, headquarters of North Lanarkshire Council, located in Motherwell

The council is based at Motherwell Civic Centre on Windmillhill Street in Motherwell. The building was built between 1965 and 1970 for the former Motherwell and Wishaw Town Council, and was subsequently used as the headquarters of Motherwell District Council between 1975 and 1996.[21]


Since 2007 elections have been held every five years under the single transferable vote system, introduced by the Local Governance (Scotland) Act 2004. Election results since 1995 have been as follows:[16]

Year Seats SNP Labour Conservative BUP Green Liberal Democrats Independent / Other Notes
1995 69 7 59 0 0 0 0 3 Labour majority
1999 70 12 56 0 0 0 0 2 New ward boundaries.[22] Labour majority
2003 70 13 54 0 0 0 0 3 Labour majority
2007 70 23 40 1 0 0 1 5 New ward boundaries.[23]
2012 70 26 41 0 0 0 0 3 Labour majority
2017 77 33 32 10 0 0 0 2 New ward boundaries.[24] Labour minority
2022 77 36 32 5 1 1 0 2 SNP minority until August 2022, then Labour minority.


Map of North Lanarkshire's 21 wards, using 2017 boundaries
Map of North Lanarkshire's 21 wards, using 2017 boundaries

The council is made up of 21 wards,[25][26] as follows:

Ward Name Population
1 Kilsyth 11,832
2 Cumbernauld North 19,670
3 Cumbernauld South 16,206
4 Cumbernauld East 16,608
5 Stepps, Chryston and Muirhead 11,623
6 Gartcosh, Glenboig and Moodiesburn 13,438
7 Coatbridge North 15,320
8 Airdrie North 20,062
9 Airdrie Central 16,570
10 Coatbridge West 14,213
11 Coatbridge South 17,286
12 Airdrie South 19,803
13 Fortissat 15,706
14 Thorniewood 13,916
15 Bellshill 15,252
16 Mossend and Holytown 12,799
17 Motherwell West 14,129
18 Motherwell North 18,667
19 Motherwell South East and Ravenscraig 20,146
20 Murdostoun 18,489
21 Wishaw 18,225
Overall Total 339,960


  1. ^ "Lanarkshire". Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  2. ^ "Lanark from kings to covenanters". South Lanarkshire. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d "North Lanarkshire". Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  4. ^ "Common Good Register". North Lanarkshire. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  5. ^ "Cumbernauld Burgh". A Vision of Britain through Time. GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth. Retrieved 22 January 2023.
  6. ^ "Motherwell and Wishaw Burgh". A Vision of Britain through Time. GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth. Retrieved 22 January 2023.
  7. ^ "History of Motherwell". Culture NL. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  8. ^ "Policy: Local government". Scottish Government. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  9. ^ Stephen Herbert (13 June 2007). "Local Government – Subject Profile" (PDF). Scottish Parliament. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  10. ^ "Joint Working Group Report: Planning and Development" (PDF). North Lanarkshire. March 1995. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  11. ^ "Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994",, The National Archives, 1994 c. 39, retrieved 22 January 2023
  12. ^ "Lieutenancy map". Lieutenancy of Lanarkshire. Retrieved 22 January 2023.
  13. ^ "The Lord-Lieutenants (Scotland) Order 1996",, The National Archives, SI 1996/731, retrieved 22 January 2023
  14. ^ "North Lanarkshire State of the Environment Report". North Lanarkshire. December 2005. p. 43. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  15. ^ "SCOTTISH CITIES & TOWNS BY POPULATION". Undiscovered Scotland. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  16. ^ a b "Compositions calculator". The Elections Centre. Retrieved 23 January 2023.
  17. ^ "Council minutes". North Lanarkshire Council. Retrieved 23 January 2023.
  18. ^ Braiden, Gerry (19 January 2016). "Veteran Labour council leader Jim McCabe announces surprise move to quit". The Herald. Retrieved 23 January 2023.
  19. ^ Gordon, Tom (27 July 2022). "SNP council leader Jordan Linden quits in 'sexual misconduct' row". The Herald. Retrieved 23 January 2023.
  20. ^ "North Lanarkshire Council". 24 August 2009.
  21. ^ Historic Environment Scotland. "Motherwell Civic Centre complex (Category B Listed Building) (LB52545)". Retrieved 23 January 2023.
  22. ^ "The North Lanarkshire (Electoral Arrangements) Order 1998",, The National Archives, SI 1998/3251, retrieved 24 January 2023
  23. ^ Scottish Parliament. The North Lanarkshire (Electoral Arrangements) Order 2006 as made, from
  24. ^ Scottish Parliament. The North Lanarkshire (Electoral Arrangements) Order 2016 as made, from
  25. ^ "2017 Wards: Boundaries, population and household numbers". North Lanarkshire Council. 2018. Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  26. ^ "United Kingdom: Scotland | Council Areas and Electoral Wards". City Population. 30 June 2019. Retrieved 28 March 2021.