Westmorland and Furness
Westmorland and Furness shown within Cumbria
Westmorland and Furness shown within Cumbria
Coordinates: 54°19′34″N 2°44′42″W / 54.326°N 2.745°W / 54.326; -2.745
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
RegionNorth West
Ceremonial countyCumbria
Historic county
Incorporated1 April 2023
Administrative HQKendal
 • TypeUnitary authority with leader and cabinet
 • BodyWestmorland and Furness Council
 • ControlLiberal Democrats
 • LeaderJonathan Brook (LD)
 • ChairmanMatt Severn
 • Chief ExecutiveSam Plum
 • House of Commons
 • Total1,450 sq mi (3,756 km2)
 • Rank3rd
 • Total227,006
 • Rank81st
 • Density200/sq mi (60/km2)
Time zoneUTC+0 (GMT)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+1 (BST)
Postcode areas
GSS codeE06000064

Westmorland and Furness is a unitary authority area in Cumbria, England,[4][5]. The economy is mainly focused on tourism around both the Lake District and Cumbria Coast, shipbuilding and the port in Barrow-in-Furness, and agriculture in the rural parts of the area.

The council area formed on 1 April 2023, on the abolition of Cumbria County Council[6][7] The council covers the areas formerly served by the districts of Barrow-in-Furness, Eden, and South Lakeland, which also ceased to function. It includes all of the area of the historic county of Westmorland as well as the Furness district of historic Lancashire. It also incorporates a very small part of historic Yorkshire, together with about a quarter of the area of (but only 10% of the population of) the historic county of Cumberland. The other part of Cumbria, to the north and west, forms the unitary authority area of Cumberland.

The first elections to the new authority took place in May 2022, with the Westmorland and Furness Council acting as a 'shadow authority' until the abolition of the three former districts and Cumbria County Council on 1 April 2023.[8]


Elections to Cumbria County Council were due to take place in May 2021; however, they were postponed for one year by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government due to a consultation on local government reorganisation in the area.[9] In July 2021, the government announced that the current authorities in Cumbria would be abolished and replaced with two unitary authorities, with an east/west split of the county.[10]

Opponents of the reorganisation claimed that the proposal was being pursued to benefit the electoral prospects of the Conservative Party. Cumbria County Council, which would be abolished under the plans, sought judicial review to prevent the reorganisation from taking place.[11] The judicial review was refused by the High Court in January 2022.[12] Draft statutory instruments to bring about local government reorganisation in Cumbria were subsequently laid before parliament.[7] The Cumbria (Structural Changes) Order 2022 (2022 No. 331) was made on 17 March 2022, and came into force the following day.[13]

The name of the unitary authority derives from the county of Westmorland and the peninsula of Furness.[14] Westmorland was previously an administrative county until it was abolished by the Local Government Act 1972 and became part of the new county of Cumbria. Furness was part of the administrative county of Lancashire until 1974; together with the Cartmel Peninsula, it formed an exclave of that county, historically part of the Lonsdale Hundred of Lancashire known as North Lonsdale or Lancashire North of the Sands.[15] In addition to those areas, the district includes part of the historic county of Cumberland in the Penrith area and an area centred on Sedbergh, which was part of the West Riding of Yorkshire.


The densely residential Barrow Island
Victorian architecture in Central Barrow
A coastal scene in North Walney
Major settlements and civil parishes
Neighbouring council areas
Local authority In relation to the district
Cumberland North
Northumberland North east
County Durham East
North Yorkshire South east
City of Lancaster South


Westmorland and Furness Council has 65 councillors,[16] and the first election to the local authority was in May 2022. At that election the Liberal Democrats secured a majority on the incoming council with 36 out of 65 councillors. Labour have 15 councillors, the Conservatives have 11 councillors, the Green Party have 1 councillor and 2 councillors were elected as independents.[17][18]

Affiliation Members
Liberal Democrats 36
Labour Party 15
Conservative Party 11
Independent 2
Green Party of England and Wales 1

Westmorland and Furness, together with neighbouring Cumberland, constitute a ceremonial county named "Cumbria" for the purpose of lieutenancy and shrievalties, being presided over by a Lord Lieutenant of Cumbria and a High Sheriff of Cumbria. Ceremonial counties do not discharge any administrative function.[19][20]

Police services are provided by Cumbria Constabulary and fire services by Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service. These are both overseen by the Cumbria Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner.[21]

Settlement Twinned settlement
Dalton-in-Furness United States Dalton, Pennsylvania, United States
Kendal Republic of Ireland Killarney, Ireland
Germany Rinteln, Germany
Penrith Australia Penrith, New South Wales, Australia
Sedbergh Slovenia Zreče, Slovenia
Ulverston France Albert, France
Windermere Germany Diessen am Ammersee, Germany



The West Coast Main Railway Line runs through the district, with a stations at Penrith and Oxenholme. Services on the line are provided by Avanti West Coast and TransPennine Express. The Northern Settle–Carlisle line also runs through, with stations at Armathwaite, Lazonby, Langwathby, Appleby, Kirkby Stephen, Garsdale and Dent. Other lines in the district include the Cumbrian Coast (the line terminate at Barrow-in-Furness), Furness (to Lancaster) and Lakes (which runs through Kendal).

Roads through the district include the M6 motorway, the A6 and the A66.

See also


  1. ^ "Councillors and committees". Westmorland and Furness Council. Retrieved 18 December 2023.
  2. ^ "Mid-Year Population Estimates, UK, June 2021". Office for National Statistics. 21 December 2022. Retrieved 18 October 2023.
  3. ^ "Mid-Year Population Estimates, UK, June 2021". Office for National Statistics. 21 December 2022. Retrieved 18 October 2023.
  4. ^ "The Cumbria (Structural Changes) Order 2022". legislation.gov.uk. Retrieved 3 June 2023.
  5. ^ "Lieutenancies Act 1997". legislation.gov.uk. Retrieved 16 May 2023.
  6. ^ "Next steps for new unitary councils in Cumbria, North Yorkshire and Somerset". Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government. 21 July 2021. Retrieved 9 January 2022.
  7. ^ a b "The Cumbria (Structural Changes) Order 2022".
  8. ^ "Names for two controversial Cumbria councils revealed". BBC News. 5 November 2021. Retrieved 9 January 2022.
  9. ^ "Local elections postponed in three English counties". BBC News. 23 February 2021. Retrieved 9 January 2022.
  10. ^ "Cumbria councils to be replaced by two authorities". BBC News. 22 July 2021. Retrieved 9 January 2022.
  11. ^ "Cumbria County Council launches legal action over shake-up". BBC News. October 2021. Retrieved 9 January 2022.
  12. ^ "Bid to stop local government reorganisation lands county council with £30,000 bill - cumbriacrack.com".
  13. ^ "The Cumbria (Structural Changes) Order 2022".
  14. ^ Kenyon, Megan (8 November 2021). "Names of two new Cumbria unitaries confirmed". Local Government Chronicle. Retrieved 4 May 2022.
  15. ^ "North Lonsdale Lancashire". Vision of Britain.
  16. ^ "Elections - May 2022". New Councils for Cumbria.
  17. ^ "Westmorland and Furness". www.westmorlandandfurness.gov.uk.
  18. ^ "Westmorland & Furness result - Local Elections 2022". BBC News.
  19. ^ "The Cumbria (Structural Changes) Order 2022".
  20. ^ "The Cumbria (Structural Changes) Order 2022".
  21. ^ Milligan, Laura (4 April 2023). "PCC officially takes on responsibility for Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service's governance". Cumbria Police and Crime Commissioner. Retrieved 8 April 2023.
  22. ^ "BAE Systems Barrow". BAE Systems. Retrieved 28 December 2023.
  23. ^ "Port of Barrow". Associated British Ports Holdings. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 18 June 2011.
  24. ^ "Kimberly-Clark Barrow". Kimberly-Clark. Archived from the original on 13 July 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2010.
  25. ^ "James Fisher & Sons Barrow". James Fisher & Sons. Archived from the original on 30 August 2012. Retrieved 15 July 2010.
  26. ^ "Stollers Barrow". Stollers. Archived from the original on 1 March 2010. Retrieved 16 July 2010.
  27. ^ "Center Parcs". Center Parcs. Archived from the original on 12 July 2010. Retrieved 16 July 2010.
  28. ^ "GlaxoSmithKline Ulverston". GlaxoSmithKline. Archived from the original on 28 June 2012. Retrieved 16 July 2010.
  29. ^ "Lakeland Windermere". Lakeland. Archived from the original on 5 May 2011. Retrieved 16 July 2010.
  30. ^ "Heinz Kendal". Applegate. Archived from the original on 24 December 2013. Retrieved 16 July 2010.