Bath and North East Somerset (commonly referred to as BANES or B&NES) is the district of the unitary authority of Bath and North East Somerset Council that was created on 1 April 1996 following the abolition of the county of Avon. It is part of the ceremonial county of Somerset.
The unitary authority provides a single tier of local government with responsibility for almost all local government functions within the district, including local planning and building control, local roads, council housing, environmental health, markets and fairs, refuse collection, recycling, cemeteries, crematoria, leisure services, parks, and tourism. It is also responsible for education, social services, libraries, main roads, public transport, trading standards, waste disposal and strategic planning, although fire, police and ambulance services are provided jointly with other authorities through the Avon Fire and Rescue Service, Avon and Somerset Constabulary and the South Western Ambulance Service. Its administrative headquarters is in Bath, though many departments are based at offices in Keynsham. The air ambulance and critical care service is provided by the charity Great Western Air Ambulance Charity.
Bath and North East Somerset covers an area of 136 square miles (352 km2), of which two thirds is green belt. It stretches from the outskirts of Bristol, south into the Mendip Hills and east to the southern Cotswold Hills and Wiltshire border. The city of Bath is the principal settlement in the district, but BANES also covers Keynsham, Midsomer Norton, Radstock, Westfield, Saltford and the Chew Valley.
The area has varied geography including river valleys and rolling hills. The history of human habitation is long but expanded massively during Roman times, and played significant roles in the Saxon era and English civil war. Industry developed from a largely agricultural basis to include coal mining with the coming of canals and railways. Bath developed as a spa resort in Georgian times and remains a major cultural tourism centre having gained World Heritage City status.