Last edited 07 Jul 2016

Crown estate


[edit] Introduction

The Crown Estate is the property portfolio owned by the crown and is one of the largest property estates in the United Kingdom. It belongs to the reigning monarch, but cannot be sold and is not the private property of the monarch. As a whole, the estate dates back to the time of the Norman Conquest and today it exists under The Crown Estate Act 1961. This act declared that the estate is managed by a board who has a duty to:

“…maintain and enhance its value and the return obtained from it, but with due regard to the requirements of good management” (The Crown Estate Act 1961).

The Crown Estate is run by The Crown Estate Commissioners board and their staff. Any surplus revenue is paid annually to the Treasury and is formally accountable to parliament.


The Crown Estate includes a diverse portfolio of assets around the United Kingdom.

The urban portfolio includes:

  • Regent Street: almost the entire freehold.
  • St James's: nearly 50% of the buildings in the St James's area.
  • Regional: including 16 retail parks, two leisure schemes and interests in three shopping centres.

The energy and infrastructure portfolio includes:

  • Offshore wind energy: major role in the development of offshore wind energy.
  • Marine aggregates: predominant interest in the extraction of marine aggregates but also in salt and potash.
  • Cables and pipelines: established part of the business and a focus on maintaining the importance of the UK as a key landing point for submarine telecoms.
  • Wave and tidal: commitment to successfully exploiting wave and tidal resources.
  • Minerals potash: hold the rights for the seabed potash deposits.
  • Carbon capture and storage: working to identify how carbon storage beneath the seabed can help meet carbon emissions targets.
  • Natural gas storage: hold the rights for gas storage within the Gas Importation and Storage Zone.
  • Onshore renewables.

The coastal portfolio includes:

  • Aquaculture: promotion of the aquaculture industry.
  • Moorings and marinas: includes over 17,000 licensed moorings leased to relevant local bodies.
  • Marine stewardship fund: supporting community initiatives.
  • Metal detecting: Permitting of metal detecting on the foreshore.

The rural portfolio includes:

  • Agriculture - Livestock and arable farming covering around 106,000 hectares.
  • Forestry - including 10,000 hectares principally in Somerset and Moray.
  • Minerals - own the rights to extract minerals covering 115,500 hectares.
  • Tourism - work to encourage growth in visitor economy.
  • Development - progressing strategic land opportunities.
  • Rural residential - diverse portfolio of homes including listed buildings and new builds.

The Windsor portfolio includes:

  • Windsor Great Park.
  • The Royal Landscape: a popular area which includes Virginia Water lake, two gardens and a landscape of woodland glades and forest rides.
  • Forestry.
  • Residential and commercial lettings.

The 2014 annual account for the property portfolio is available from The Crown Estate website.

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