Article in The Telegraph, 10 Sep 2017.

On 10th September 2017 a letter from the British Counties Campaign was published in The Telegraph:

Britain needs to bring back historic counties on signs, maps and posts to “eliminate confusion” for hundreds of villages and towns, MPs say today

Five Tory MPs and one DUP MP have signed a letter to today’s edition of The Daily Telegraph urging ministers to support a new law to set out clearly county boundaries.

The British Counties Campaign has compiled a list of more than 600 towns and villages which are considered by some to exist in more than one county. The full list is published on The Telegraph’s website today.

Examples include Wigan, which is considered by some to be in Lancashire and Greater Manchester, Stokenchurch – in Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire – and Grange-Over-Sands – in Lancashire and Cumbria.

The MPs, including former ministers Sir Henry Bellingham and Sir Edward Leigh, blamed legislation creating new administrative areas in the 1960s and 1970s for confusing county names that dated back over 1,000 years.

The changes were introduced “despite protests of millions who did not want county identity messed with, but were forced to live in new areas”.

They say: “Recent government initiatives tried to offset confusion by emphasising the continued existence of counties. But the job is half done.

“The counties must be re-established as the standard geographic reference, used for cultural, sporting and other activities.”

The group are backing a draft bill “to ensure ‘county’ refers to traditional counties only, with no separate administrative or ceremonial ‘counties’”.

They add: “The government must encourage use of county names and boundaries for maps, signs, post, national media and business, including online. Councils should promote counties, children be taught, and tourist centres refer.

“A bill, created by the British Counties Campaign, enacted now, will allow county use for practical, economic and cultural benefit. It will eliminate county confusion. We will know where we are now, as well as where we are going.”

The campaign is now planning to formally launch their bid to reform county names in the new year and is seeking cross-party support.

Surveys are planned in relation to county identity in Scotland, general costs benefits and usage of county nomenclature on an area-by-area basis.

Pam Moorhouse, 71, the campaign’s founder who lives in Grimsby, Lincolnshire, told The Telegraph: “The present Government is still wasting public money destroying the traditional counties against the wishes of the population.

“People are being forced into new areas against their will. No information is being published about the counties, for the benefit of historians and our children.”

Ms Moorhouse has already identified massive county support in Grimsby. She added: “If support exists in Grimsby, it exists everywhere.”

A spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government said: “We understand that many people feel a strong attachment to traditional county names, which is why in 2013 we removed the Whitehall ban on the use of county names on street and road signs and published an online, interactive map showing county boundaries.”

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