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Half of UK land in the hands of just 1%

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The aristocracy and gentry still own around 30% of England, according to a new book ‘Who Owns England?’ by Guy Shrubsole.

The figures, shared with the Guardian newspaper, may be underestimated as 17% of land in England and Wales remains undeclared at the Land Registry.

Overall, the book shows that around half of the UK is owned by around 1% of the population – around 25,000 landowners – a figure unchanged for centuries. Major landowners include the Duke of Buccleuch, the Queen and the entrepreneur James Dyson. The royal family owns 1.4% of England, including the Crown Estate, the Sandringham Estate and the Duchies of Cornwall and Lancaster.

5.2 million acres of England & Wales don’t have a registered owner. This doesn’t mean it isn’t owned, simply that the ownership details haven’t been registered with the government. Registration on the sale of land wasn’t compulsory until 1990, so it means the land hasn’t changed hands since then. The Land Registry says: “Much of the land owned by the Crown, the aristocracy, and the Church has not been registered, because it has never been sold.”

Around 18% of England is owned by corporations. The largest landowner is water company United Utilities.

Every person in the UK would have almost an acre were land to be distributed evenly.

The book’s findings are drawn from a combination of public maps, data released through the Freedom of Information Act and other sources.

The book shows that bulk of the population owns a tiny share of the overall land in the UK. Those who own homes in England, in total, own only 5% of the country.

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