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WHO REALLY OWNS THE UK?

Becoming a landlord or simply owning a portfolio of property is the dream for many in the UK. It’s easy to see why, as there is plenty of money to be made with the right investments. This is illustrated by the fact that there were over 750,000 property millionaires in Britain as of the start of 2018.

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But even they’re just the tip of the iceberg.

The UK is made up from approximately 60,000,000 acres which certainly seems like enough room for everybody to carve out their property dreams. However, the top 50 landowners currently control 7,331,243 acres which equates to over 12% of Britain’s landmass.

So, who are these people who own so much of the UK? Take a look below to find out.

BREAKING DOWN THE UK’S TOP 50 LANDOWNERS

Aside from their impressive property portfolios, one of the most interesting things about the top 50 UK landowners is the trends that emerge when you look a bit closer at who makes the list…

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Now that we know the groups that make up the top 50 list, it’s time to look at which of them owns the most land in the UK.

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PUTTING IT INTO PERSPECTIVE

When you’re looking at thousands of acres of land, it’s easy to lose sight of the sheer size being discussed. Here are some comparisons to put these figures into perspective…

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Find out how much land members of the royalty and nobility control below. The top landowners include Queen Elizabeth, the Crown Estate and Hugh Grosvenor 7th Duke of Westminster.

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Foreign interests make up a significant proportion of top 50 places. These include larger companies such as Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings, and also individuals like Anders Holch Povlsen and Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum.

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Utility providers in the top 50 landowners control almost 500,000 acres across the UK. Those in the list mainly deal in water and mineral mining. The largest companies featured include United Utilities, MEH Minerals and Severn Trent.

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A selection of British entrepreneurs and large business owners have made the list including James Dyson (technology), Michael Cannon (public houses) and the Rathbone Brothers (investment broker). Here is what their land holdings equate to.

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Charitable Organisations & Environmental Interests control more land than any other group in the top 50. These include the Forestry Commission, the RSPB and the government’s environmental protection and rural affairs department DEFRA.

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With talk of a housing crisis never far from the UK press, perhaps it’s not so surprising that although several housing developers appear on the top 50 list, they are dead last in terms of total acreage. Those that make the cut are Taylor Wimpey, Homes England and the Peel Group.

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The UK Military own a substantial amount of land, set aside for the ‘defence of the realm’. While the vast majority is controlled by the Ministry of Defence itself, the Honourable Artillery Company also make the top 50 list.

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Outside of the other predefined groups we’re left with the Church of England and Oxford University’s Merton College, which both own enough land in their own right to make it into the list of largest land owners in the UK.

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UK LAND OWNERSHIP LEADERBOARD

So, who exactly are the people who own so much of the UK? We’ve compiled a list of the top 50 UK property owners and how much land they control in the table below.

#Land OwnerAcres
1FORESTRY COMMISSION2,200,000
2MINISTRY OF DEFENCE1,101,851
3CROWN ESTATE678,420
4NATIONAL TRUST & NATIONAL TRUST FOR SCOTLAND589,748
5RSPB332,000
6RICHARD SCOTT, DUKE OF BUCCLEUCH & QUEENSBERRY280,000
7ANDERS HOLCH POVLSEN218,364
8THE DUKE OF ATHOLL’S TRUSTS145,000
9UNITED UTILITIES140,124
10HUGH GROSVENOR, 7TH DUKE OF WESTMINSTER140,000
11DUCHY OF CORNWALL135,000
12DEFRA116,309
13CHURCH OF ENGLAND105,000
14DWR CYMRU CYFYNGEDIG (WELSH WATER)77,975
15JOHN WHITTAKER (PEEL GROUP)70,000
16SALTAIRE WATER70,000
17CHEUNG KONG INFRASTRUCTURE HOLDINGS69,294
18MRH MINERALS67,935
19SHEIKH MOHAMMED BIN RASHID AL-MAKTOUM63,000
20HENRY SOMERSET, 12TH DUKE OF BEAUFORT52,000
21SEVERN TRENT51,668
22LAFARGEHOLCIM48,557
23ROBERT WARREN MILLER36,000
24HUGH LOWTHER, 8TH EARL OF LONSDALE35,269
25SIR JAMES DYSON33,000
26ROGER TEMPEST25,516
27ZAMBRANO FAMILY25,340
28COUNT LUCA RINALDO CONTARDO PADULLI DI VIGHIGNOLO25,000
29ANDREW RUSSELL, 15TH DUKE OF BEDFORD21,474
30STEFAN PERSSON21,373
31HARWORTH GROUP21,000
32EDWARD GUINNESS, 4TH EARL OF IVEAGH20,664
33HEIDELBERGCEMENT20,534
34CORLAND MINERALS20,371
35QUEEN ELIZABETH II20,000
36JOHN SAVILE, 8TH EARL OF MEXBOROUGH20,000
37HOMES ENGLAND19,349
38JOHN CLARK18,119
39MICHAEL STONE18,000
40SIR LYONEL HUMPHREY JOHN TOLLEMACHE, 7TH BARONET17,908
41RATHBONE BROTHERS17,854
42OSPREY CONSORTIUM17,607
43VALERO ENERGY17,216
44MICHAEL CANNON16,001
45RICHARD KELVIN-HUGHES16,000
46KEMBLE WATER HOLDINGS15,987
47PENNON GROUP15,816
48MERTON COLLEGE, OXFORD UNIVERSITY14,707
49TAYLOR WIMPEY14,684
50HONOURABLE ARTILLERY COMPANY14,209

*Data sourced from Love Money, Who Owns England and additional public records research

The land information contained in the above table is based on publicly available information. Due to the closely guarded nature of land ownership, some people and companies may not feature who would qualify for the top 50. Of those featured, the acreage may not include all of their land holdings but allows us an insight into their substantial assets.

For more information on everything from property tycoons to media mergers and more – visit the ABC Finance blog.

2018-07-04T18:42:36+00:00
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