All posts by Tony Gosling

Beginning his working life in the aviation industry and trained by the BBC, Tony Gosling is a British land rights activist, historian & investigative radio journalist. Over the last 20 years he has been exposing the secret power of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) and élite Bilderberg Conferences where the dark forces of corporations, media, banks and royalty conspire to accumulate wealth and power through extortion and war. Tony has spent much of his life too advocating solutions which heal the wealth divide, such as free housing for all and a press which reflects the concerns of ordinary people rather than attempting to lead opinion, sensationalise or dumb-down. Tony tweets at @TonyGosling. Tune in to his Friday politics show at BCfm.

Petition launched to save Dartmoor ponies from ‘extinction’ after DEFRA further restricts commoners

Petition launched to save Dartmoor ponies from ‘extinction’ after new rules introduced

The petition, titled Save the Dartmoor Hill Pony, was launched by concerned campaigners.

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/petition-launched-save-dartmoor-ponies-32366117

Over 100,000 signatories are calling on the government to halt the decline in the number of ponies that have freely roamed for centuries. Natural England has recently introduced new rules on the moorland

The petition, titled Save the Dartmoor Hill Pony, was launched by concerned campaigners.

A petition has been launched to save the famous Dartmoor ponies – which campaigners claim are at risk of ”extinction”, and some are asking ‘are Extinction Rebellion interested?’

Nearly 100,000 signatures are calling on the government to halt the decline in the number of ponies that have freely roamed for centuries. Figures show 20 years ago there were 7,000 Dartmoor Hill ponies roaming free on Dartmoor in Devon – today there are only 1,000.

Natural England has introduced new rules on the moorland – which mean farmers will now have to pay for grazing the ponies on common land. But a petition launched by Joceline Hibbs is urging people to save the Dartmoor hill ponies from ”extinction”. Joceline said: “The DoDo became extinct through no fault of its own, just the wrong place at the wrong time.”

“This is true of the the Dartmoor hill ponies, except they are the right animal in the right place, for at least over 4,000 years, probably far longer. Help us make sure this government protects them for future generations. Defra must ensure that Natural England do not take actions likely to result in a decline in pony numbers’ as recommended by an Independent Review.”

”We are at a critical point where it is possible that they will disappear completely.” Joceline and 95,320 others are asking Steve Barclay, the secretary of state for Defra, to make sure that pony numbers do not decline. Natural England, the government’s adviser for the natural environment, has assured it has not called for a cull of Dartmoor hill ponies and that the importance of maintaining the herd has been recognised.

The petition, titled Save the Dartmoor Hill Pony, was launched by concerned campaigners.

Dartmoor ponies have lived on the moor for centuries – there are records dated back to 1012 AD. All of the moor’s ponies belong to different pony keepers, who ensure that each herd is healthy and the species are vital for the eco-system. But in January this year, Natural England published details of new moorland rules that could pose a threat to them, campaigners say.

These include payments for grazing with ponies and cattle as opposed to solely sheep. Animal welfare groups say this would also mean many Dartmoor Hill pony owners would no longer be able to continue grazing on common land (because of payments and land restrictions) – and the slaughter of the creatures could well follow.

Joceline explains how there are not many semi-wild Dartmoor ponies remaining in the area. She said: “On average there is only one in an area of Dartmoor equivalent to 40 football pitches. We must not let Defra miss this last opportunity to secure a future for England’s only remaining semi-wild pony population the Dartmoor Hill Pony herds on the commons of Dartmoor.

“The semi-wild Dartmoor hill pony is native, rare and endangered, genetically important to the equine species worldwide and a positive contributor to enhancing Dartmoor’s biodiversity in the way that they graze. But Defra’s agent, Natural England, still seeks to catastrophically reduce their numbers. We ask that government, Defra stop this happening.”

Those who have signed the petition are urging for the protection of these now-vulnerable species. One commented: “It is a scandal and frankly outrageous that the body charged with protecting biodiversity is responsible for decimating it including and especially our native ponies.

“Natural England must be investigated because I cannot believe that they serve the UK’s natural environment as they are charged with doing and for which they are handsomely paid by the taxpayer.” Another said: “These animals are native to the moorland, unlike the sheep, and they enhance the ecology, unlike the sheep. We need them to maintain the diversity of our moorland, and because they’re incredible to have around.”

A Natural England spokesman, who insisted on remaining anonymous, told Devon Live: “Natural England has not called for a cull of Dartmoor Hill Ponies. We have always been clear that ponies make an important contribution to conservation grazing on the Dartmoor commons as part of the balance of grazing animals. ”Indeed, some agri-environment agreements on the Dartmoor commons include a rare breed supplement specifically for their native pony herds.

”While these supplements have to date been available for Dartmoor ponies now that semi-wild Dartmoor hill pony have also been included on to the Rare Breed Survival Trust (RBST) watch list we await advice from Defra as to whether the rare breed supplement would also be available for hill ponies.

“The importance of maintaining the Dartmoor hill pony herd has also been recently recognised in the independent Dartmoor Review. ‘Our advice to agreement holders includes encouraging them to include sufficient ponies and/or cattle during the period May to October and to also consider the option of having year-round low level pony grazing.

“While we can advise on the grazing framework for each agreement the agreement holders themselves will need to decide how they accommodate ponies in delivering a balanced approach to the grazing animals they use on the agreement land.”

The petition, titled Save the Dartmoor Hill Pony, was launched by concerned campaigners.

https://www.change.org/p/save-the-dartmoor-hill-pony-last-chance

Slaves To Rent: UK housing is worst value for money of any advanced economy

UK housing is worst value for money of any advanced economy, says thinktank

British properties are expensive, cramped and ageing compared with other similar economies, says Resolution Foundation

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2024/mar/25/uk-housing-is-worst-value-for-money-of-any-advanced-economy-says-thinktank

Mon 25 Mar 2024

The UKs expensive, cramped and ageing housing stock fares poorly compared with other advanced countries, analysis by a thinktank suggests.
Households are paying more than other countries but getting less in return, the Resolution Foundation said.

When it comes to housing, UK households are getting an inferior product in terms of both quantity and quality, the thinktank said.

The Foundations housing outlook used OECD data to compare the UKs housing issues with other similar economies.

It said that while there was limited cross-national data on floor space, homes in England had less average floor space per person (38 sq metres) than many similar countries, including the US (66 sq metres), Germany (46 sq metres), France (43 sq metres) and Japan (40 sq metres).

ACTION ON THE HOUSING CRISIS: This spring The Land Is Ours launched our Campaign To Abolish Eviction

The UKs housing stock is also relatively old, with 38% of homes built before 1946, the report said, compared with around a fifth (21%) in Italy and one in nine (11%) in Spain.

Older homes can be poorly insulated, leading to higher energy bills and a higher risk of damp, according to the Foundation, which is focused on improving the living standards for those on low to middle incomes.

Researchers also considered what it would cost to rent all homes incorporating what owners would pay if they rented their home at market rates to show how the market price of housing varies across different countries.

The report said: If all households in the UK were fully exposed to our housing market, they would have to devote 22% of their spending to housing services, far higher than the OECD average (17%), and the highest level across the developed economies with the solitary exception of Finland.

Adam Corlett, principal economist at the Resolution Foundation, said: Britains housing crisis is likely to be a big topic in the election campaign, as parties debate how to address the problems of high costs, poor quality and low security that face so many households.

Britain is one of many countries apparently in the midst of a housing crisis, and it can be difficult to separate rhetoric from reality. But by looking at housing costs, floor space and wider issues of quality, we find that the UKs expensive, cramped and ageing housing stock offers the worst value for money of any advanced economy.
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Britains housing crisis is decades in the making, with successive governments failing to build enough new homes and modernise our existing stock. That now has to change.

A Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities spokesperson said: Housebuilding is a government priority and despite global economic challenges we remain on track to meet the manifesto commitment of delivering one million homes this parliament, and have introduced reforms to improve the planning system.

At the same time as increasing the quantity of homes we are driving up quality, with the number of non-decent homes down by 2 million since 2010.

Our landmark renters reform bill is progressing through parliament and will give tenants more security in their homes, while our 11.5bn investment in the affordable homes programme and 1.2bn local authority housing fund will help build a new generation of affordable and social housing.

Mandelson: Tony Blair banned fox hunting after a £1 million donation from animal rights campaign IFAW

Tony Blair agreed to ban fox hunting after a £1 million donation to Labour from an animal rights group, Peter Mandelson claims

The former business secretary said the group got ‘pretty transactional’

By Jason Groves – published 14 December 2023

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12866059/tony-blair-ban-fox-hunting.html

Tony Blair agreed to ban fox hunting ‘under pressure’ because of a £1million donation to Labour from an animal rights organisation, Peter Mandelson has claimed.

The former business secretary said the group got ‘pretty transactional’ and it demanded the ban ‘in return’ for the cash – which at the time was the party’s biggest ever donation.

The Labour peer, who is now an adviser to Sir Keir Starmer, did not name the group involved. However, his comments appear to be a reference to a £1million donation given by the late animal rights campaigner Brian Davies, who founded the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

Lord Mandelson revealed the pressure Mr Blair was facing during a discussion about political funding on the Times Radio podcast How To Win An Election.

Asked about whether donors had ever tried to buy influence, he said: ‘I can offer you an example from 1997 when an organisation – it was a fund to do with the welfare of animals – got pretty transactional with us. It was the first and last time I can remember this.

‘They wanted a ban on hunting in return for a very sizeable amount of money. And Blair and Co were sort of reluctant obviously to enter into some sort of trade over this policy.

‘However, there were a lot of people in the party who wanted that ban – there were a lot of MPs coming and demanding it – and we got into a difficult situation where frankly we went a little bit too far – further than Blair wanted – in making this commitment in our manifesto.

‘It was, frankly, under not duress but under some sort of pressure. It wasn’t attractive and it’s not been repeated.’

His comments will raise fresh questions about political sleaze. Labour has been trying to woo wealthy donors in the same manner as it did in the run-up to the 1997 election.

Tim Bonner, chief executive of the Countryside Alliance, which led the campaign against the ban on hunting, said: ‘Tony Blair has already admitted that the hunting ban was one of the legislative measures he most regrets.

‘The Hunting Act has failed at every level, not least in the damage it has caused to the countryside and biodiversity. A future Labour government should right the wrongs of the past and remove this running sore in Labour’s relationship with rural communities.’

But a spokesman for Sir Tony said it was a ‘misinterpretation’ of Lord Mandelson’s comments to suggest that Labour’s policy had been influenced by the donation.

They added: ‘There was no such agreement, he is clearly saying there were a lot of people who had passionate views on the subject.’

Labour’s 1997 manifesto pledged to facilitate ‘a free vote in Parliament on whether hunting with hounds should be banned by legislation’.

Legislation to ban hunting was not finally introduced until 2003 and did not come into force until 2005 following a titanic parliamentary battle.

In his political memoir, Sir Tony voiced regret about the ban and revealed that he had deliberately left loopholes in the legislation that would allow hunting to continue provided certain steps were taken to prevent cruelty.

He said he had not realised the ‘primeval’ passions that the ban would cause among rural communities.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare did not respond to a request for comment. The Labour Party has yet to comment on the matter.

UK ‘No Farmers No Food’ campaign launches over ‘green’ taxes and supermarket price fixing, squeezed margins force farmers out as private equity moves in

No Farmers, No Food campaign group wins support as UK producers mull protest action

By Kevin White 8 February 2024 The Grocer magazine

UK farmers have been debating following their European colleagues’ protest action, which led to big disruption in France and across the continent last week

New campaign group No Farmers, No Food is already attracting significant support, as farmers across the UK mull following their European colleagues with protest action.

The group was established on Twitter/X a fortnight ago as a wave of protests spread across the continent over onerous environmental regulations, rising costs, competition from imports and a lack of support from supermarkets.

Farmers across the UK now appear to be eyeing similar action. The new campaign has already attracted more than 50,000 followers on the social media platform and more than 300,000 on Facebook, with countless more farmers and food industry bodies engaging with the movement behind the scenes, said founder James Melville.

Guy Singh-Watson: Supermarkets act now: Get Fair About Farming

No Farmers, No Food is pitching itself as a non-political, non-militant campaign group that seeks to “support farmers and build public opinion and support” around the type of concerns expressed by continental farmers, said Melville – who is the son of a farmer, a media commentator and communications specialist.

“What we’re trying to do is create a set of campaigns and messages the public can understand, based on what is sometimes a very, very, complicated set of issues that are differing from farm to farm,” he added, pointing to government bureaucracy and the treatment of farmers by supermarkets as key areas that needed to be addressed.

But he stressed organising protests “was not our job as a very new organisation”.

“It’s up to individual communities and farmers to decide what they want to do,” he added.

Guy Singh-Watson: Get Fair About Farming: Silence of the supermarkets

The formation of the group comes amid growing calls for organised farmer protests in the UK. Farmers in Wales are understood to be particularly open to protest action.

More than 1,000 farmers met at Welshpool livestock market last week to discuss the impact of proposed new Welsh government sustainable farming rules, which NFU Cymru warned could devastate the nation’s farming sector.

Plans by the Labour administration could lead to a 10.8% cut in livestock numbers and an 11% cut in labour on Welsh farms, equivalent to losing 5,500 jobs – costing the sector almost £200m. However, the Welsh government stresses the plans are subject to a consultation and could still change.

Kelly Seaton: huge financial pressure being piled onto farmers

Farmers at the event expressed dismay at the plans, said north Wales-based livestock farmer Gareth Wyn Jones, who is also among the supporters of No Farmers, No Food. Further meetings were expected in Wales this week.

“There are definitely whispers around protest action and an appetite for it. But we’re not quite there yet,” Jones told The Grocer.

“This is a movement of frustration, with many farmers feeling like enough is enough – the situation many are finding themselves in is unsustainable.”

Some farmers were “raring to go” on protests, he said.

However, Jones – who has also highlighted the plight of farmers on his YouTube channel – stressed the “need to keep the public on board” and for any potential action to be co-ordinated, respectful and peaceful.

“There is no point in fragmented protest,” he added. “But if we do see protests it demonstrates we are at rock bottom.”

https://twitter.com/EdConwaySky/status/1748774254718472473

With Tata steel having just confirmed the closure of the two blast furnaces at Port Talbot, here are a few important data points.
First, UK steel-making has collapsed faster, over the past half century, than ANY other country in the world save for Venezuela.
Pretty shocking👇

Blockade: EU Farmers topple and torch John Cockerill’s statue; Welsh Farmers organise

Farmers bring down Cockerill statue in Brussels protest as 1,000 tractors block roads

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/farmer-protest-tractors-eu-brussels-france-b2488790.html

Protest on day of EU summit comes as France lays out concessions to protesters leading to union bosses to call on farmers in the country to go home

Emmanuel Macron has said that Europes farming sector is facing a major crisis and needs to profoundly change its rules after more than 1,000 tractors brought part of Brussels to a standstill, calling on EU leaders to do more to support them with rising costs and environmental rules.

Background from The Guardian: Carbon offsets overstate climate benefit by 1,000%, study finds

Farmers in several countries across Europe have been blocking roads for days as part of protests, with France particularly hard hit. Speaking after a leaderss summit in the Belgian capital, the French president said that Europe is not deaf to the plight of farmers and that simplified regulations across the EU would help. The statement came after France laid out plans for some concessions to the protesters, leading to unions to call on them to go home.

Earlier in the day, farmers threw eggs and stones at the European parliament, started fires near the building and toppled a statue of John Cockerill a British-Belgian who helped Belgium’s industrial revolution who the protesters potentially mistook for someone connected to the EU. Small groups tried to tear down the barriers erected in front of the parliament a few streets from where the leaders summit was taking place but police fired tear gas and sprayed water at the farmers with hoses to push them back.

Major thoroughfares in Brussels were blocked by around 1,300 tractors, according to police. Security personnel in riot gear stood guard behind barriers where the leaders were meeting at European Council headquarters.

Background from BBC: Carbon offset, tree planting schemes pricing out farmers

If you see with how many people we are here today, and if you see its all over Europe, so you must have hope, said Kevin Bertens, a farmer from just outside Brussels. You need us. Help us!

Farmers from Italy, Spain and other European countries took part in the demonstration in Brussels, as well as continuing their protests at home. In Portugal, farmers made their way to the Spanish border at the crack of dawn to block some of the roads links between the two countries.

One of Belgiums biggest supermarket chains Colruyt said on Thursday three of its distribution centres were blocked by protesting farmers, leading to disruptions in its supply chain. Centres located in Ollignies, Ghislenghien and Halle in central western Belgium, which supply Colruyt’s Belgian shops with dry food, water and drinks, and fresh and frozen products, were no longer accessible.

At the moment, stock is still available in our shops… [but] it is inevitable that products will eventually be missing from the shelves, Colruyt said in a statement, adding that it was difficult to make definitive statements on timing as shops have different stock levels.

Background from Newsweek: Farmers Fight Back Across Europe

Colruyt Group has always focused on sourcing locally as much as possible and succeeds very well in this for many categories, the store chain said. It added it understood farmers concerns but did not see blockades as a solution to them.

In France, where farmers stepped up protests at the start of the week, the impact of dozens of blockades is also being felt, said Eric Hemar, the head of a federation of transport and logistics employers.

We did a poll among our federation members: all transport firms are impacted (by the farmers protest) and have lost over the past 10 days about 30 per cent of their revenue, because we are not able to deliver on time or with delays, he told France Info.

In his latest speech aimed at easing tensions with angry farmers, Frances prime minister Gabriel Attal earlier said France would enshrine in law the principle that it should be self-reliant in food and it will tighten import controls.

Mr Attal, speaking at a press conference, also said the government will stop imposing stricter regulation on its farmers than European Union regulations require.

It makes no sense to ban pesticides in France before such decisions are taken on an EU level. We will end this practice, he said.

Background from BBC: Climate change or market change? Cold callers shock farmers with tree-plant plea

Detailing his agenda to boost Frances agricultural sector, Europes largest, Mr Attal said it was out of the question that France would agree to the Mercosur trade deal with Latin American countries.

He also said France will step up safety checks on food imports, notably to make sure that imported foods do not have traces of pesticides that are banned in France or the EU.

The finance ministry said the new emergency measures for the sector, focused largely on supporting struggling livestock farmers and wine producers, would cost 400 million (340m), plus 200m in cash advances.

Union leaders called on their members to end the roadblocks in the wake of the speech but said this came with the condition that the promises be followed by concrete progress. They said they would give the government a three-week deadline until the start of Frances giant Salon de lAgriculture farming trade fair for the first results to show.

From Monday, were going to get to work in the prefectures and ministries to work on all the points that have been announced, said Arnaud Gaillot, the head of the Young Farmers (Jeunes Agriculteurs) union.

The protests across Europe come ahead of the European parliament elections. While the farmers crisis was not officially on the agenda of the EU summit, which focused on aid to Ukraine, an EU diplomat said the situation with the farmers was likely to be discussed later in the day.

Farmers have already secured several measures, including the blocs executive commission proposals to limit farm imports from Ukraine and loosen some environmental regulations on fallow lands, which several EU leaders welcomed as they arrived at the summit.

Free Party: a folk history of the 1990s free party movement against the 1986 Public Order Act and the 1994 Criminal Justice Act

Free Party: a folk history of the 1990s free party movement and against the 1994 Criminal Justice Act

https://www.facebook.com/FreePartyDocumentary

Free Party: a folk history – TRAILER

https://www.docnrollfestival.com/films/free-party-a-folk-history/

All they wanted was the freedom to party. The State saw them as the enemy within.

A timely DIY indie film that follows the birth of the UK’s free party movement from the late 80s and early 90s and the social, political and cultural impact it’s had on our present times. Many Tories believed the movement’s DIY anti-consumerist lifestyles, prophetic environmental, radical, direct action anti-road protest and animal welfare ethos threatened the foundations of their neoliberal era State. The film explores the inception of the movement, a meeting between urban ravers and the new age travellers during Thatcher’s last days in power, and the explosive years that followed, leading to the infamous Castlemorton free festival in 1992 – the largest ever illegal rave, which provoked the drastic change of the laws of trespass with the notorious introduction of the Criminal Justice Act in 1994. Eschewing tired formulaic filmmaking styles and tokenistic big name DJ sound-bites, this exhilarating modern day folktale is told exclusively by those who were in the thick of it and features interviews with members of Spiral Tribe, DIY Sound system, Circus Warp, Bedlam and many others.

Colm Forde – DnR Creative Director

Dir Aaron Trinder| UK | 2023 | 107 mins

Screenings appear to be announced here on Facebook – please add a comment below if you find anywhere better to find them, thanks.

 

No Man’s Land? How To Claim Forgotten, Unclaimed UK Land For Free through Adverse Possession laws

Claim Land For Free UK

Claim Land For Free UK

There Is probably Unregistered land In the Image Above.
claim-free-land-uk = Claiming Land By Adverse Possession

How to Claim Free Land Uk – Yes it’s Totally Legal – If you are looking to claim free land in the Uk then you may be in luck.

Yes, this is true. You can claim land for free in the UK through what is known as Adverse Possession. It takes a total of 12 years to get the land title in your name. But it takes only weeks to start using the land and making money from it.

But be in no doubt that you can become the owner of free land in the UK. It takes a matter of years to become the true owner of that free UK land. But this does not mean you have to wait to work that land.

I have now started uploading YouTube Videos @TheSmallFarmerLife Channel. I will discuss everything from what it is to look for land whether that’s claiming it for free which I will be making a Video about.

Videos will be on so many different subjects around starting and running a small farm…!

Now Let’s Discuss What You Need To Know On Claiming Land

How can you claim this land for free you may ask? Well, there are thousands and thousands of acres of land out there in the UK that are unregistered. Now, this does not mean that nobody owns the land. It could just mean that the land has never changed hands since 1990. This is when it became mandatory to register land or property after a sale.

Here is a quick overview of how the process works for Claiming Free Uk Land

More Detailed Explanation On How To Find land To Claim Below

As you can see in the image above there is still 20% of land and buildings not registered in the UK which is around 12 million acres. This is because the whole of the Uk is made up of 59.9 million acres in total.

If you don’t have the time to Adversely Possess Land and have a little money spare to invest in farmland. This is how I managed to get 2.6 acres for free in the space of 4 years. Go check out my post on “How To Find Land To Farm” and see how I did it.

There are so many other reasons that land has not been registered. All land is owned by someone, somewhere. This could even be the crown, but this does not mean that you can still not claim it.

Reasons, why land is vacant and could possibly be claimed, is for many reasons. The land could have belonged to a business that went bankrupt. That nobody knew the land belonged to the business and it was forgotten about.

The land could belong to a gas, electricity grid or railways that run through the country. There is plenty of free UK land out there that has belonged to people who have passed away. This land has just been forgotten about and is just sitting there.

The point being is that there is so much out there that people don’t have a clue who owns it. Meaning you could claim that land yourself for free, it is really quite amazing.

I was even told in the past by one of our council leaders & planning chairman to just go out and claim land free. This is one of the simplest and cheapest ways to get free land. Some councils have land they do not even know they own.

You Need To Be Looking For Land That Looks Like This. This land is just down the road from where I live. I have Seen It Just Get Worse Over Years. I Might Look Into This land.

Claiming Free Land Or Buildings

It is not as easy as walking up to a piece of land and saying “I Claim This Land In My Name”. There is a process that you need to go through to claim the land.

To claim the land in your name and have it registered in your name takes 12 years in total. 10 years to make the claim and 2 years for someone to object (The Rightful Owner). But you do not have to wait that long to use the land. It’s possible you are driving or walking past land, that you could claim and you’re passing it every day.

If you are looking to claim land for free and this can include buildings also. You need to be looking for unkept land, which could be overgrown with weeds and trees. The fencing could be rotting or no fence at all and can come in a small patch or acres.

I have extended people’s gardens through my business. Land that has been covered in nettles and thick brush, with an old shed much further back. I personally would have claimed it all, which was about a 3rd of an acre or more.

I have also claimed free land here in the UK for my customers. This was to extend their gardens and they still have it. They still have the free land attached to their gardens to this day with no problems.

How you should go about the first process. Let’s say you have seen a piece of land that is overgrown. It may have old fencing, that looks like it hasn’t been touched or repaired in years.

Firstly you would like to know if a local owns the land or if it has been registered. Now you can do this by knocking on local doors. You could also do a quick Land Registry Search for the registered keeper.

If no one knows who owns the land and you cannot find a registered keeper. This is a good start to staking your claim to that land.
Staking Your Claim To The Land

Staking your claim to the land for free is a little scary at first. But it is legal and you are not breaking the law. You will not be arrested and the police will not ever be called it is a civil matter.

That is unless you think you can just steal land in the UK. This is not what we are talking about, we are talking about claiming unused land.

Stealing Land: This is when you know that the land in question is in use by a current owner. They may or may not have registered it but they are using the land all the same. Do not do this there is plenty of land and buildings out there to claim without breaking the law.
Top Tip To Find Land To Claim

You should be looking for lots of potential land plots. Land that meets the criteria I mention in this article. This is the key to finding potentially a couple of pieces of free land.

You do not want to put all your eggs in one basket so to speak. But this does not also mean you have only one piece of land in mind or even a building. Then you should stay away just claim the one piece of land or building you have your eye on.

I am just saying if you make up several signs and stick those signs on land and buildings. If you think could be possible to claim then your chances will become higher. You might end up being able to claim none of them. Then again you could end up claiming them all.?

Make Sure You Have What You Need In Your Vehicle As You Travel Around, Such Things As Keep Out Signs..?

So you want to print out or get yourself some “Keep Out Signs”. Also, place your mobile number on and trespassers will be prosecuted. Then laminate them and get a cheap mobile phone and place the number on the sign also.

Quick tip purchase a cheap mobile phone with a number that you will only use for this purpose. Then nobody will get hold of your personal number and when it rings you will know what it’s about.

A4 paper will do fine to place your keep-out notices on and get them laminated to stop them from getting wet. Make sure you get at least 10 made for the different sites you have spotted as potential plots.

Now you have your little signs and place them on the entrance to the land. If nobody calls, to say hey what is your number and sign doing on my land, within a couple of weeks. This is a good sign for you that nobody in the area actually owns it. If they do call move on what have you lost a printed piece of paper?

After a month or two of your sign being on the entrance to the land and in full view. Then you need to go and start to clear the land and patch up the fences and do this on the cheap. You can stick a couple of goats in there if it is only long grass and nettles they will have it down in no time.

If it’s used as a tip it could take more time, or you could just put a gate up and stick a sign up and wait longer. But the sooner you start to sort the land out the better chance you have to get free land.
Use Free Or Reclaimed Timber And Materials

Use reclaimed timber to repair fencing and gates. All the while you are doing this take images and take notes also. Make sure the images have a date stamped on them. This is what most mobile phones do nowadays anyway and even the location also.

Using reclaimed materials or even free materials to fix the fencing and gates is a great way to save money. There are lots of places to find free materials. Including Facebook Market Place, FreeCycle, Gumtree, Preloved

Check Out My Post On How To Find Cheap Or Free Building Materials

Just Because it has A Gate Doesn’t Mean You Cannot Claim It,

Making Your Claim Stronger

Now you have started the process then you can rent the land out your free land for grazing.

People will pay for grazing horses or as allotments and you then collect rent. Keep all the receipts for the rent of the land. If you have been collecting rents for the land you are claiming and have been doing so for several years. You are really looking good to eventually register the land in your name.

If you really wanted to and felt that you would like to farm it. Then you could start to farming the land yourself, it is totally up to you.

But if you do all this work and then someone turns up a couple of years into the process. This is unlikely if you have already been renting it out for several years. Make sure you are keeping the records for proof, showing you have been caring for the land.
Temporary Title Claim To Land Or Building.

After 5 years you can put a temporary claim on the land. This is all explained on the Land Registry website. The Land Registry will also confirm that this is totally legal. This makes sure nobody comes along after you gave been there for several years and tries to stake a claim also.

At this time you might be saying this is too much time and energy. But just think about it what have you spent up to now? Nothing you have probably made money if you have rented the land out.

This is your money, nobody can take this money from you. Even if someone does turn up and say it belongs to them.

If this does happen, then the person who turns up and says it’s their land. They have to prove it is their land. So do not just take their word for it. If anyone else starts asking questions about you and the land. You do not have to tell them anything, do not lie to them, just do not say anything.

Unless they are just asking you how you grow your vegetables. I mean, be nice to locals, this will prove you have been using and caring for the land. Also making local friends will only benefit you in the long run.

If you tell them that you are claiming the land because it hasn’t been cared for. So you thought I’m having this, then who knows what or who will come out of the woodwork.

People are claiming land in this way every single day. There are even people selling information on how to claim free land. The only information you need I am telling you right here.

Also, it does not just have to be you that has been on the land for 12 years. If you got the land off a person who was on there for seven years. Then you only have to wait another five years to claim it. Make sure you get any evidence they have. Make sure that they have actually been there for along as they say they have.

Making Your Claim

Once you have been on the land for 10 years. You can then apply to have the land registered in your name. The law allows 2 years for any owner who has proof to come forward and challenge this application. Now as I have said earlier they have to prove it belongs to them.

Most times if you have occupied the land for ten years. Then you can be pretty sure, you are in with a good chance that it’s going to be yours. I have heard of people coming to claim the land. Then the person who is claiming the land won and got to keep the land over the challenger.

Even if the land goes back to the original owner and they can prove it belongs to them. You have had at least made some money from the land. How much depends on what you used it for or rented it out for.

You can also put in for planning permission for land. If it does not belong to you, so do not be scared of this. Yes, it’s a big chance if you are trying to get planning for a home. But if you are just looking to put up small barns, greenhouses, and sheds. Then you can easily take these structures down and move them.

The point is that there is a lot of land out there unregistered and registered. They could potentially be claimed totally free. Many places to look are the side of railways, electricity grid land, corners of farmland, old buildings left abandoned, old farmhouses in ruins, land that is just in a weird place and overgrown.

keep looking along the roadsides there is land. Some people may never have left in a will or had a family. Land left abandoned in mountains of paperwork by bankrupt banks & businesses. This will only eventually end up in the Crown’s hands if nobody claims it.

You can go and claim land and buildings today for free. So why not when driving around keep your eyes open? Make a few signs and put them anywhere you think the land is unregistered.

You also do not have to pay the £3 for the title deeds. Just move the cursor over the land you have found on the land registry website. If it has been registered it will say deeds available, if not then it will say none available.

Make sure when you do the Land Registry search for deeds. That you are in the middle of the piece of land. Not near the edge of the land. This way you will actually get to see if the deeds are for that piece of land. Not some other that is next to it.

Small pieces of land are hard to pinpoint for the deeds. The map has around a 20 – 30-meter radius. So it could pick up deeds from land next to it. So make sure you are getting the right title deeds.
If you also like to watch a video on this article click the link

The larger the piece of land the easier it is to make sure it’s not registered land.

Tips For Finding Land To Claim Free

Look for overgrown land. Check for uncared-for fencing. Look for weeds growing through the entrance drive if any. Even if there is a lock on an old metal gate, how old is the lock? Has it been opened lately, you can tell if it has.

How to claim land in 2020

You can get a feel for what to look for. When you really take notice of cared-for and uncared-for land. Look for land that’s scruffy and hilly that cannot be farmed etc. These are excellent targets to claim.
claiming uk land

If you go down this route I really hope you find a piece of land. I am almost certain there is some close to you and you don’t even realize it. Also, the advent of Google Earth is a great tool to look for potential land local to you.

You can look from the air and then go to street view. But remember these images can be a few years old. So once you have spotted your target piece, go out and take a look with your own eyes.

Please do not go and squat on land that obviously belongs to someone. This will do nothing to help you. You will only eventually be moved on and it is just wasted time and energy.

Good Luck With Your Search & Happy Hunting..!

Landowner’s supreme court case threatens 2023 Dartmoor wild camping victory

See also: No Man’s Land? How To Claim Forgotten, Unclaimed UK Land For Free through Adverse Possession laws

Landowner’s supreme court case threatens Dartmoor wild camping victory

See also: Dartmoor ‘robot rangers’ to wear body-worn video cameras after ‘rise of abuse’ by wild campers they are trying to evict  Alexander Darwall is challenging decision last year to overturn ban on wild camping on the moors

Helena Horton Environment reporter – Wed 10 Jan 2024

The right to wild camp on Dartmoor could be under threat again after the supreme court granted permission for a wealthy landowner to bring a case against it.

Last year, the Dartmoor National Park Authority won an appeal against a decision to ban wild camping on the moors.

Camping had been assumed to be allowed under the Dartmoor Commons Act since 1985, until a judge ruled otherwise last January. It was the only place in England that such an activity was allowed without requiring permission from a landowner.

The case hinged on whether wild camping counted as open-air recreation, leading to a long debate in the court of appeal. Lawyers acting for Alexander Darwall, the landowner, argued it was not, because when camping one was only sleeping rather than enjoying a particular activity.

After the court of appeal decision, lawyers acting for Darwall, a hedge funder and Dartmoor’s sixth-largest landowner, asked the supreme court to hear the case.

Darwall bought the 1,619-hectare (4,000-acre) Blachford estate on southern Dartmoor in 2013. He offers pheasant shoots, deerstalking and holiday rentals on his land.

His attempts to ban wild campers from using his estate without his permission sparked a large protest movement, with thousands going to Dartmoor to assert their right to camp. It awakened a land rights debate in the UK, with the Labour party weighing in. The party previously said it would legislate for a right to wild camp in all national parks. However, it since appears to have U-turned on its land rights policy.

Lewis Winks, from the Stars Are For Everyone campaign, said: “The loss of our cherished right to sleep under the stars on Dartmoor ignited a passionate and broad movement for greater land rights in England. This news is confirmation that reform is both needed and inevitable, and will act as a clarion call to all those who wish for generations to come to enjoy these fundamental freedoms.

“As ever, the right to wild camp is emblematic of the fragility of our wider rights in the English countryside, and Darwall’s latest egregious move illustrates the need for greater legal protections for access to nature.

“We hope that the court sees sense and returns a favourable verdict, enabling wild camping to continue on the commons of Dartmoor.”

Darwall’s legal team at Landmark Chambers said that the high court held that the words in the act “unambiguously excluded a right to camp on Dartmoor” and found in favour of the landowners. The court of appeal held that it “unambiguously included a right to camp” and allowed the Dartmoor National Park Authority’s appeal. “The appeal to the supreme court will determine once and for all this important issue, namely whether members of the public enjoy a right to camp on the Dartmoor commons,” it said.

“The supreme court will be asked to consider a number of principles applicable to statutory interpretation which will be of interest to practitioners. In particular, it will be invited to consider whether the court of appeal took sufficient account of admissible ‘background’ materials (i) in identifying the ‘mischief’ at which the legislation was aimed and (ii) in considering whether the statutory language was ambiguous.”

Norfolk villagers claim Thomas Coke, Earl of Leicester, has stolen over 3,000 acres of public common land

Locals’ uprising against the ‘Lord of the Manor’: Stately home Holkham Hall at centre of bitter row after Norfolk villagers claim its owner the Earl of Leicester ‘unfairly’ took over 3,000 acres of public land

Ryan Prosser 01 Jan 2024 – https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12917037/Locals-uprising-against-Lord-Manor-Stately-home-Holkham-Hall-centre-bitter-row-Norfolk-villagers-claim-owner-Earl-Leicester-unfairly-took-3-000-acres-public-land.html

Holkham Hall, which covers 25,000 acres, is owned by Thomas Coke, the Earl of Leicester

One of the most prestigious stately homes in the country is at the centre of a bitter legal row over the ownership of part of its vast 25,000 acre estate.

Holkham Hall, valued at more than £200 million, is on the north Norfolk coast and owned by the Earl of Leicester and the huge farming estate is run by Jake Fiennes.

But the picturesque marshes of Burnham Overy Staithe, near Brancaster, are at the centre of an extraordinarily fierce row in which villagers are challenging the power and influence of the local ‘Lord of the Manor’.

Locals claim that more than 3,000 acres of land is legally common land. They say the Earl of Leicester, of nearby Holkham Hall, has ‘unfairly’ claimed the part of the area as his own and that the land is being wrongly treated as private property.

Sailors and boat users are charged for moorings and launchings on the popular waterways and the fees are claimed by the Burnham Overy Harbour Trust which leases the land from the Holkham estate.

The eighth Earl of Leicester, Thomas Coke – an elected hereditary peer in the House of Lords, who was the Page of Honour to Queen Elizabeth II – insists the land is lawfully part of his estate.

In recent weeks, the dispute has been played out at Norwich Magistrates’ Court but the battle ended in defeat for the villagers, after a tribunal panel ruled against them. But they have vowed to continue their fight.

With average house prices of £1 million, the stretch of fashionable coast around Holkham has been dubbed Chelsea-on-Sea because of the growing number of Londoners buying up second homes or holiday lets.

The Scolt Head and District Common Rights Holders’ Association was set up forty years ago and has always argued that the land belongs to Burnham Overy Parish Council under historic Enclosure Acts that date back to the 18th century.

But the villagers say the Earl unlawfully registered the land to the Holkham estate in 2012 and has leased it to the Burnham Overy Harbour Trust which is wrongly charging people for moorings and license fees to launch boats.

Rod Cooke, secretary of the Scolt Head and District Common Rights Holders Association, accused the Holkham estate and Trust of ‘usurping from property that doesn’t belong to them’.

Common land has been taken from us and is being used as private property and there is not supposed to be any commercialisation of common land and they shouldn’t be profiting from it.

‘What they’ve done is unlawful and there’s no way common rights holders can get justice.

‘We’re perfectly happy to manage the common with everyone, but the Earl of Leicester, who calls himself the landowner, and the Trust won’t talk to us- they don’t believe we have any role in the management of the land we own.’

But Holkham estate says it successfully registered ownership of an island in Burnham Overy harbour, traditionally called the 77 Acres, with HM Land Registry between 2009 and 2015.

It denies any ownership of the Scolt Head Island nature reserve, which it says lies with the National Trust and with Natural England.

Peter Mitchell, managing director of the estate, said: ‘Ownership of the this land was challenged some four or five years after it was registered.

‘Holkham looked back into the estate records and agreed at the time the possibility that the ownership of the 77 Acres may not have been legitimately held by the previous owner, who sold a large block of land around the Burnhams to the Holkham estate in 1922.

‘If that counter argument were shown to be true, ownership would most likely have tracked from its status as unenclosed land into ownership by the parish council or the district council.’

The estate says that it has worked closely with the parish council over the last few years and that the authority came to the conclusion that they ‘neither needed to, nor wanted to, take on ownership’.

‘The Holkham estate therefore decided at that time that it should not transfer ownership to the parish council, but instead continue to take responsibility to manage this important area of natural habitat.’

The Scolt Head and District Common Rights Holders Association reported the Burnham Overy Harbour Trust to the Charity Commission thirty years ago but in 2019 the Commission said it was not going to take any action over the complaints. He said both had been ‘unlawfully contravened by the Commission and Trust’.

Mr Cooke submitted a Freedom of Information request to the Commission asking for correspondence between the regulator and the Trust.

However, it withheld some information, arguing that if it was to disclose correspondence from trustees public confidence in charities could be lost through fear of consequences.

Mr Cooke appealed, but it was this case that was dismissed at a tribunal at Norwich Magistrates’ Court in recent weeks.

‘We could take the Trust to court for trespassing on common land, but when you’re dealing with organisations with thousands of pounds we simply can’t take them on because we don’t have that sort of funding,’ Mr Cooke said.

Subsidised offshore windfarm anyone? How King Charles acquired our continental shelf, almost three times the UK’s land area

Landlord of the Sea: How King Charles acquired our continental shelf, almost three times the UK’s land area

How The King Cashed In On Our Seabed – a tale of Medieval power and private property ownership… as UK poverty spirals out of control

 

The royal family has made millions from the exploitation of the seabed—a resource that belongs to us all. Is it time for people and planet to be put ahead of profit?

https://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/world/monarchy/62141/how-the-monarchy-cashes-in-on-our-seabed

Prospect Magazine – By Guy Standing July 19, 2023

Ever since ancient Rome, the sea, seabed and seashore have been accepted as part of the commons—res communes omnium—belonging to everybody equally, and inalienable as state or private property. The commons as a distinct form of property was taken forward in Magna Carta and the Charter of the Forest of 1217, the twin bedrocks of common law and all democracies.

A commons depends on the “sovereign”—in the UK’s case, the monarchy—acting as steward or trustee, with responsibility for preserving it for generations to come. For more than 650 years, following a ruling by King Edward I in 1299, the monarchy accepted this positive duty, known as the Public Trust Doctrine.

However, in the past 60 years, the monarchy has gradually plundered the blue commons—the seabed around the British Isles—transforming it into nothing less than a rentier capitalist empire. That empire, in the decade since 2013, is thought to have earned the royal family in the region of £193m. The new king, Charles III, who while heir to the throne established a reputation as an environment protector, has inherited and continues to profit from this system.

The evolution began in 1961, two years after the discovery in Dutch waters of large quantities of North Sea gas. The Crown Estate was constituted by an act of parliament to manage the assets belonging to the monarchy, with a mandate to maximise revenue and capital value for the Treasury. As King, Charles is not involved in managing these assets; they are not the monarch’s personal property but “the sovereign’s public estate”, managed by the Crown Estate supposedly in the public interest.

At the time, the Crown had no ownership rights in the sea beyond the lower-tide mark on the seashore. Indeed, in 1951 the Labour foreign secretary, Herbert Morrison, had declared that the sea around Britain was not the property of the state or anybody.

But in 1962, as was revealed much later, the Queen privately told the first commissioner of the Estate—the leader of the board running the corporation’s commercial interests—that she had seen something about “taking over rights on land under the sea”. In fact, the Estate’s legal adviser in 1959 had proposed enshrining in law the extension of Crown lands to the whole of the continental shelf. Other Estate officials advised against trying to extend rights to the seabed, because this would draw attention to the fact that no existing legislation gave such ownership.

However, prompted by the passing of a UN convention that granted states rights to the continental shelves by their shores, and by drilling companies seeking legal clarity on ownership of the seabed in expectation of finding commercial oil and gas reserves, the outgoing Conservative government of Alec Douglas-Home passed the Continental Shelf Act in 1964. It gave the Crown Estate precisely the rights it had earlier refrained from seeking. This granting of ownership to the Crown Estate was a huge enclosure of the commons but did not change the fact that the seabed was still part of the commons. The Crown, and the government as its agent, became the seabed’s steward, responsible for preserving it.

All at sea: the Crown Estate (and in Scotland, the separate Crown Estate Scotland) owns the seabed to 12 nautical miles out. It also holds rights to explore and use natural resources (except oil, coal and gas) and generate renewable power on the UK’s continental shelf

As a business, the Crown Estate grew at a modest rate during the following decades, returning all revenue to the Treasury while the monarch received a fixed sum—the annual “civil list”—to pay for royal expenses. The Estate’s marine activities did not include the North Sea oil and gas bonanza, for although the Crown owns the oil and gas found beneath the sea, as beneath the land, their exploitation is managed by the government and its agencies.
In the 1980s, the Thatcher government sold leases on lots in the North Sea to oil companies at ridiculously low prices, taking the revenue as a windfall profit to pay for tax cuts. This was a blatant depletion of the commons, in sharp contrast to Norway’s decision to use its surplus oil and gas revenues to create what is now a mammoth sovereign wealth fund, ensuring benefits flow to both current and future generations.

The next phase came in 2001, when offshore wind energy took off. In a first step, the Crown Estate leased 12 seabed sites of 10 square km each. Three additional rounds saw leases awarded in 2003, 2010 and finally in 2021, when the Crown Estate auctioned six large lots, most of which went to German and French firms. The most recent round included the novel addition that the companies would pay the Crown a ground rent, an annual “option fee”, even before producing any wind energy. It was estimated that this round alone could generate nearly £9bn over 10 years.

And here is the rub. Over the past two decades, successive governments have allowed the Crown Estate to become a monopolistic corporate enterprise. In 2004, the New Labour government passed the Energy Act, which enabled the Estate to claim a share of the revenue from production of all offshore wind and wave electricity. In 2008, it extended this to gas and carbon dioxide storage.

These measures intensified a clear conflict of interest for the Crown Estate between being a steward responsible for preserving the commons for future generations and a business working to maximise revenue and profits. Meanwhile, to add to its profits, the Estate had started to invest in joint ventures.
In 2010, the Parliamentary Treasury Committee concluded that the Crown Estate was focusing too much on income from its control of the seabed and seashore, rather than on the long-term public interest. In what was hardly an adequate rebuttal, the Estate’s CEO said he was pleased the committee recognised they were running a successful business operation, adding only that the Estate took its responsibility to act in the wider public interest “very seriously”.

Nothing was done to prioritise once again the role of the Crown as protector and steward. The situation was tilted further in favour of commercial criteria in 2012, when George Osborne, at the time chancellor of the exchequer, abolished the civil list in favour of a “sovereign grant”, calculated as 15 per cent of the Crown Estate’s profit. That figure was increased to 25 per cent in 2017, ostensibly to cover the estimated cost of refurbishing Buckingham Palace; at present it is set to revert to 15 per cent in 2028. The creation of a deadline in itself created a new moral hazard, giving the Crown Estate an incentive to maximise short-term profits.

In brief, the Crown Estate has become a monopolistic sealord. It has monopolised offshore wind and wave energy and created an oligopoly consisting of a few, overwhelmingly foreign-owned multinationals, a structure that promises to keep prices and revenues above what would arise in a competitive market. Although the Estate uses an auction process to decide which firms secure the leases, it still decides how many leases to sell, as well as the size and location of the lots.

In the decade since 2013, the Crown Estate has made more than £1bn profit from its marine business (known in the Estate’s accounts as energy, minerals and infrastructure until 2019/20, and inclusive of aquaculture until 2016/17). Over the years, this sum has been delivered to the Treasury, and has contributed to the pot from which the sovereign grant is calculated. Precise figures are difficult to discern due to the opaque nature of Crown Estate accounts, but Prospect research suggests that in the ten years to 2022/23, the seabed has earned the royals approximately £193m.

£193m: the royal family’s estimated earnings from the sea, 2013 to 2023

This sum takes into account King Charles’ magnanimous announcement in January 2023 that the Crown Estate would hand over to the government what a spokesperson called the “offshore energy windfall” from the 2021 round of sales, which boosted the marine sector’s profits from £127.5m to £370.8m in a year. In any case, revenue from the commons should not be treated as a “windfall” at all. It should never have been the Crown’s to begin with.
In its eagerness to make profits, the Crown Estate has even sold development rights for one patch of seabed to two different projects at the same time, one for a giant Danish-owned offshore windfarm, the other for storing carbon dioxide under the seabed. An industry insider commented tersely that the Crown Estate was being “a bit greedy”.

By the financial year ending in 2023, the value of the Crown Estate’s marine businesses was £5.7bn, up by 14 per cent on the year before, mainly because of offshore wind. The Crown is not liable to pay tax on the sovereign grant. Overall, the Estate’s portfolio is worth almost £16bn. It is a major industrial enterprise, but one that does not have to adhere to free market principles, let alone be answerable to the commoners.

The Welsh should feel particularly aggrieved, in that whereas all management and revenue of the Crown Estate in Scotland is in the hands of the Scottish government, revenue generated in Wales is not devolved. Extraordinarily, the value of the Crown Estate’s marine portfolio in Wales rose from £49m in 2020 to £549m in 2021 and to £603m in 2022. None of it went to the Welsh government, let alone to Welsh commoners. No wonder a majority of Welsh people want the Estate to be devolved as it is in Scotland.
25 per cent: proportion of the Crown Estate’s profit given to the royal family through the sovereign grant

These inequities are compounded by the fact that the Crown Estate has not always, before granting leases, carried out environmental impact assessments in accordance with either international law or the precautionary principle, which requires decision-makers to err on the side of caution when considering projects that might entail serious or unknown ecological risks. For the first three rounds of sale of seabed rights, the Estate was required under EU law to demonstrate that it had considered alternative sites before deciding where to locate infrastructure developments such as windfarms.

There is no evidence that it did this. Instead, assessments of the environmental impacts were left to developers, with the UK government judging in which sprawling zones development could occur. And the Estate itself has admitted that in the three earlier leasing rounds it didn’t have data with which to make objective assessments.

There has been progress: the Crown Estate and the government will in future examine the environmental impact of offshore windfarms, and outside of leasing rounds, work is under way to better understand the impact on nature of marine infrastructure. Had the Crown acted as the steward of the commons, this work would have been started much earlier.

In one case, the Danish power company Ørsted received approval for a project off the North Yorkshire coast which will affect a Special Protection Area that is home to Britain’s biggest colony of seabirds. The Estate and the government accepted that the project would threaten endangered birds, but let it go ahead on the basis of a promise by the company to introduce an offset breeding scheme to make up for bird deaths. There is no evidence that the scheme will work.

But while wind energy—sorely needed for the green transition—has received public scrutiny for its impact from nature, it is far from being the Crown Estate’s only source of profit from the sea.

Sand and gravel are easily the most mined minerals in the world, with about 50bn tonnes excavated from rivers, lakes and the sea annually. This figure is growing by around 5 per cent each year, feeding demands, led by China, for concrete and other construction materials. There is an impending global shortage, and excessive excavation is already causing land erosion worldwide.

The Crown Estate is the only body in the UK with the designated or presumed authority to oversee the production and sale of our sea sand. It has been quietly expanding mining, to the point where 21m tonnes of sand were excavated in 2022. A quarter was exported, mainly to Belgium and the Netherlands.

The manager of the Crown Estate’s “marine minerals portfolio” said in September 2022 that the Estate works “in partnership with industry, to help support the sustainable use of sand and gravel resources”. If it were a proper steward of the commons, the Estate would also work with conservation bodies, not just those interested in maximising extraction and profits. To protect against erosion and to avoid destruction of underwater ecosystems, there should be regular impact assessments of sand excavation before any more mining begins, done by independent bodies not answerable to the Crown Estate.

Bearing in mind that sea sand is an exhaustible common resource that will become more expensive as it becomes scarcer, a responsible steward would invest all or part of the revenues to maintain the capital value for the benefit of future generations, according to what is known as the Hartwick Rule of Intergenerational Equity. Instead, the Crown Estate is effectively treating all revenue from the sale of sea sand (as well as potash and other minerals found in the sea) as “windfall profit” for current spending.

Another seemingly innocuous activity being encouraged by the Estate is seaweed farming. Seaweed and seagrass are valuable for the marine ecosystem, not least as habitats and carbon sinks (they are far more effective than woodland in absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere). Nearly 90 per cent of seagrass has vanished from UK coastlines—much as a result of pollution, dredging and trawling—since the Estate took over the seabed as its income-earning property. Meanwhile, scientists predict that most of the UK’s 26,000 square miles of kelp forests will be lost by 2100.

£9bn: predicted windfall, over ten years, from 2023 offshore wind leases

Sadly, the Crown Estate has impeded some plans by civil society groups to replant thousands of acres of seagrass by charging, in at least one case, £500 an acre for doing so. One kelp farm company abandoned plans to develop a network of 58 farms around the seabed due to lengthy bureaucratic delays by the Crown Estate. These are not the actions of a benign steward of the commons.
Then there are around 750 aquaculture sites—for farming fish (mostly salmon), shellfish and crustaceans—from which the Crown Estate Scotland (CES), an independent body that gives its entire revenue to the Scottish government, earns a hefty sum. The CES, which takes 1.5 per cent of turnover income, must be partially answerable for fish farming’s shocking record in Britain: farmed salmon have a premature mortality rate as high as 24 per cent from disease and lice infestations; mass escapes threaten wild fish species; and the corporations, most foreign-owned, pay only half the true costs of production, with the remainder, including environmental costs, borne by local communities.

Scottish fisheries complain that licensed fish farms discharge sea lice and pesticides into the sea, killing wild fish. The CES, although more accountable to Scottish ministers, ignores the precautionary principle, and allows seabed dredging for scallops and bottom trawling for prawns, both of which do massive harm to marine ecosystems.

If the CES behaved as a real steward of the commons, it would demand that salmon farmers met higher ecological standards. If it cannot fulfil its positive duty to protect the commons then it should not be steward at all.

So what should be the political agenda? In the long run, a progressive government should want to restore the sea and seabed as part of Britain’s commons. In the immediate term, it should reform the governance of the Crown Estate, insisting that its primary responsibility is to preserve and enhance the capital value of the common resources in the sea around Britain.

The Crown Estate could charge firms more rent for ecologically damaging fish and shellfish farms. By contrast, it should not be charging anything for activities such as seaweed farming or seagrass replanting that revive marine ecosystems. It should make a commitment consistent with the High Seas Treaty, agreed at the UN marine biodiversity conference last year, to rewild 30 per cent of the seabed under its stewardship by 2030. It should stop the export of our sea sand. Above all, the next government should appoint a cabinet-level minister of the sea, whose responsibilities should include overseeing all the marine-related activities of the Crown Estate.

Finally, there is a transformational opportunity for a new progressive government. The King has said the £1bn a year “windfall” from the latest auction of our seabed should go to the public. The only equitable way to treat revenue from the commons would be to recycle it equally to all commoners—that is, to all of us. That £1bn a year should go into a Commons Capital Fund from which common dividends could be paid to every citizen. After all, the Crown’s role was to protect, not to plunder the commons. Charles III inherited an empire at sea—but he has the chance now to change it for the better.

Guy Standing is a Professorial Research Associate at SOAS University of London and a founding member and honorary co-president of the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN), a non-governmental organisation that promotes a basic income for all. He is author of The Blue Commons: Rescuing the Economy of the Sea.