Review of Nomenclature of Units for Territorial Statistics (NUTS) Boundaries

Closed 15 Jan 2016

Opened 9 Nov 2015

Feedback updated 25 Feb 2016

We asked

NUTS boundaries are used for reporting of regional statistics to Eurostat and those statistics are used to inform regional policy. The Scottish Government is proposing to create a fifth NUTS2 boundary in the south of Scotland. Do you have any comments on the Scottish Government's proposals for creating a fifth NUTS2 region?

You said

Responses were generally supportive of the proposal however some issues were raised which the Scottish Government has given its response to. Please see the full Review of NUTS Boundaries.

We did

It is the opinion of the Chief Statistician and  the Scottish Government that the reporting of statistics to the European Union for Scotland would be better achieved by creating a fifth NUTS area for ‘Southern Scotland’ and reducing the size of the South Western and Eastern regions.

This will create more population balanced NUTS2 areas and will improve statistical evidence and reporting for the mainly rural south of Scotland.

The Scottish Government has now recommended to ONS that they request changes to the NUTS2 regions as detailed in this document. The Scottish Government will also recommend the three NUTS2 areas be classified as ‘Eastern Scotland’, ‘West Central Scotland’ and ‘Southern Scotland’. These names will reflect the areas which they represent.

Published responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.


The Nomenclature of Units for Territorial Statistics (NUTS) is a set of geographical
boundaries set and regulated by the European Union. The core purpose of NUTS 
boundaries is the reporting of regional statistics to Eurostat, however those statistics 
are often used to inform regional policy development and determine regional funding 
Eurostat are carrying out a review of NUTS boundaries. The purpose of this 
consultation is to help inform the Scottish Government’s response to this review and 
to ensure that stakeholders views are taken into account before submitting 
The NUTS geography is a hierarchical geography with 3 levels. NUTS1 is the 
highest level of the NUTS geography and Scotland is a NUTS1 region. NUTS levels 
2 and 3 are sub-divisions of Scotland and should align to local administrative 
boundaries. Maps 1 show the current boundaries of NUTS2 regions.
The Scottish Government will only be submitting proposals for changes to NUTS2
There are four NUTS2 areas in Scotland. Article 3 (2)1 of the NUTS regulation, 2003 
outlines the population thresholds for each NUTS level (NUTS2: 800,000-3,000,000, 
NUTS3: 150,000-800,000). The population ranges are guidelines only and Article 3 
(5)1 states that individual non administrative units may deviate from these thresholds 
because of particular geographical, socio-economic, historical, cultural or 
environmental circumstances.
The current UK NUTS structure was established in 1998 following an extensive 
consultation exercise two years earlier. All NUTS areas across Europe are reviewed 
regularly (normally every three years), with the last review completed in 2013.
Changes made as part of this review will come into force on the 1st January 2018, 
but will not impact on the allocation of structural funds beyond 2026.
Responses to this consultation are invited by 15 January 2015.
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What happens next

After the consultation has closed, the Scottish Government will consider the views of respondents and form a response which will be sent to the Office of National Statistics(ONS). ONS will send a response for the whole of the United Kingdom, reflecting the views of the Scottish Government, to Eurostat.


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