Sign directing people to a polling station in LondonImage copyright EPA

Voters will head to the polls on Thursday for council and mayoral elections across England.

Elections are being held in 150 local authorities, spanning metropolitan and district councils, unitary authorities and London boroughs.

Watford, Hackney, Newham, Lewisham and Tower Hamlets will elect mayors while the first-ever mayor for the Sheffield City Region will also be chosen.

Polling stations around England opened at 07:00 BST and close at 22:00 BST.

There are no local elections in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. However, a parliamentary by-election for the Westminster seat of West Tyrone is taking place.

The council polls, in which 4,371 seats are being contested, are the first England-wide test of electoral opinion since last year’s general election.

This year there are a number of pilots taking place where voters will have to prove who they are.

The areas are Swindon, Woking, Watford, Gosport and Bromley.

There are full details on the Electoral Commission website about which ID is required in each of the pilot areas.

Everyone else will be able to vote as usual, and will not need to take their polling card or other form of identity with them.

The weather forecast for Thursday is for cloud in the north and the west of England with patchy drizzle at times. Southern and eastern parts of England will be brighter and warmer with a fair amount of sunshine.

About two thirds of the results will be declared overnight on Friday. The rest are being counted during the day on Friday with results expected during the afternoon.

There will be rolling BBC News coverage online, with BBC TV election specials running overnight from 23:45 BST on BBC One and on Friday afternoon on BBC Two. There will also be full coverage on the BBC News Channel and, on radio, on 5live.

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