|Category:||Local government district|
|Territory:||England and Wales and Ireland|
|Upper Unit:||Administrative county|
|Legislation Begin:||Local Government Act 1894|
|Legislation Begin1:||Local Government (Ireland) Act 1898|
|Legislation End:||Local Government (Boundaries) Act (Northern Ireland) 1971|
|Legislation End1:||Local Government Act 1972|
|Legislation End2:||Local Government Act 2001|
|End Date:||Northern Ireland 1973|
|Government:||Urban district council|
In the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, an urban district was a type of local government district that covered an urbanised area. Urban districts had an elected Urban District Council (UDC), which shared local government responsibilities with a county council.__TOC__
They replaced the earlier system of Urban and Rural sanitary districts (based on poor law unions) the functions of which were taken over by the district councils. The district councils also had wider powers over local matters such as parks, cemeteries and local planning. The defining difference between an urban district and a rural district was that an urban district usually contained a single parish, while a rural district may contain many. Urban districts were considered to have more problems with public health than rural areas, and so urban district councils had more funding, and powers than their corresponding rural districts.
Urban districts usually covered smaller towns, usually with populations of less than 30,000. Originally there were 1013 urban districts. Under the Local Government Act 1929 206 urban districts were abolished. Many were merged with surrounding rural districts, and so many urban districts often covered some rural areas as well. Larger towns became municipal boroughs (already created, in 1835 under the Municipal Reform Act 1835) which had a slightly higher status, and the right to appoint a mayor.
All urban districts in England and Wales were abolished in 1974, (by the Local Government Act 1972) and replaced with a uniform system of larger districts, which usually covered both urban and rural areas. Many parish councils were created for towns previously covered by urban districts.
In Ireland urban districts were created in 1898 by the Local Government (Ireland) Act 1898. In what is now the Republic of Ireland they continued to exist but were renamed simply 'towns' under the Local Government Act 2001. (Rural districts were abolished in most counties in the Republic of Ireland in 1925)