| County of Nairn|
| County of Nairn |
1891 to 1975
||-----|| Nairn District|
1975 to 1996
||-----|| Highland council area |
1996 to present
"about twenty-two miles in length and fifteen miles in breadth; comprising an area of 200 square miles, or 128,000 acres; 2338 houses, of which 2235 are inhabited; and containing a population of 9217."The county consisted of the royal burgh of Nairn (chartered in 1476), the four parishes of Ardclach, Auldearn, Dyke & Moy and Nairn; and most of the parish of Cawdor, and parts of those of Croy & Dalcross, Moy & Dalarossie, Petty and Urquhart & Logie Wester.
Although the new boundaries were supposed to be valid for all purposes (unlike earlier boundaries, which were really default boundaries and not necessarily those used for any particular purpose), the burgh of Nairn, which had its own town council, retained autonomous status and was generally beyond the writ of the new county council. Also, use of the new boundaries for parliamentary elections was specifically excluded.
The county has always had a northern coastline on the Moray Firth. Until 1891 it had a number of exclaves in other counties, the most considerable of which was situated some distance away from the bulk of the county of Nairn, in the county of Inverness. Another sizable portion existed in the county of Ross, around the village of Urquhart, on the Black Isle. Other, smaller, detached parts (not shown on map due to their small size) existed in the county of Moray. Under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1889, these detached parts became part of their host territorities.
In 1975, under the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, the local government county was abolished and the area (including the burgh of Nairn) became, without change of boundaries, a district of the two-tier Highland region.
Local government functions were divided between the regional council and the district council. For example, education was a regional responsibility, and housing was a district responsibility.
The new unitary Highland Council adopted the areas of the former districts as management areas. Each management area was represented, initially, by area committees consisting of councillors elected from areas (groups of local government wards) corresponding to the management areas, but changes to ward boundaries in 1999 created a mismatch between committee areas and management areas.
In 2007, following further changes to ward boundaries, the council created a new management structure, with three new corporate management areas and 16 new ward-level management areas. Therefore Nairn is now both one of the 22 wards of the Highland council area and one of the Highland Council's 16 ward-level management areas.
The Nairn ward elects four of the council's 80 members by the single transferable vote system of election, which is designed to produce a form of proportional representation. The ward is on the boundary between the Highland council area and the Moray council area, which lies to the east. Within the Highland area there is the Badenoch and Strathspey ward and the Inverness South ward to the south, and the Culloden and Ardersier ward to the west. To the north, the Nairn ward is bounded by the Moray Firth.
The Nairn ward is one of nine within the Highland Council's Inverness, Nairn and Badenoch and Strathspey corporate area, and the Nairn management area is one of six ward-level management areas within the corporate area.
There is significant difference between the boundaries of the new Nairn management area and those of the area abolished in 2007. The new area is smaller, part of the old area being now within the Culloden and Ardersier ward-level area and within Inverness city ward-level area 4.