Our most valuable asset

Land is our most valuable asset, worth £5.4 trillion (just over £22 per square metre, on average).

"That monetary valuation reflects land’s finite nature and the nation’s relatively high wealth and population density. Of all the world’s developed or emerging states, England is now the most densely populated...Our economy also depends heavily on land overseas with UK’s global land footprint — the total land use associated with our own consumption, minus exports — estimated at 5.6 times the UK’s own surface area. 70% of the land in our food footprint is abroad according to Royal Society Report

Not all Land is 'Our' land..

The land is ours have video of the Peoples Parliament discussing "Land Ownership: who owns our country?" chaired by John McDonald.
Land rights have been fought over for years. In the 1640s and 50s, the Levellers and Diggers, fought against the enclosures. Hear Chumbawomba (local group from Brierfield just over Pendle Hill) sing 'World turned upside down' by Leon Rosselsohn (words & tune here..).
History of land enclosure and how this enabled capitalism to develop, like a capitalist restaurant
There is the famous poem: 'The law locks up the man or woman who steals the goose from the common, But leaves the greater villain loose, who steals the common from the goose.'
If Britain really loves its countryside, it's time for a revolution, according to 'Our Place' by Mark Cocker who "believes the sacred rural idyll beloved by the public is largely owned by rich people, farmed intensively to deliver cheap food, bickered over by fractious conservation bodies and denuded of wildlife. It can be beautiful but it is ‘almost devoid of biodiversity".
More land has been publicly marketed in last year than last 10,
It can be done! Scottish land reform allows tenants to take control - at a price! After "years of underdevelopment under the Sutherland Estate - one of Scotland's biggest landowners - and the prospect of shaping their own future convinced, the residents of Garbh Allt in the Scottish Highlands took the leap, and in June 2018 the land was sold into community ownership
Changing face of Scottish landowners
Half of England is owned by less than 1% of population. Jon Trickett, Shadow said:"“The dramatic concentration of land ownership is an inescapable reminder that ours is a country for the few and not the many. " Shrubsole says "“The aristocracy and gentry still own around 30% of England...“a handful of newly moneyed industrialists, oligarchs and City bankers” own around 17% of England. "
State sell off. This is incredible - the sale of public land to private owners where:"The disposals include council houses, forests, farms, moors, royal dockyards, military airfields, railway arches, railway sidings, museums, theatres, playgrounds, parks, town halls, bowling greens, allotments, children’s centres, leisure centres, school playing fields" So that now the area of land owned by the state is half that when Thatcher came to power.
Who Owns England? Guy Shrubsole "Behind this simple question lies this country’s oldest and best-kept secret. This is the history of how England’s elite came to own our land, and an inspiring manifesto for how to open up our countryside once more...Shrubsole unearths truths concealed since the Domesday Book about who is really in charge of this country – at a time when Brexit is meant to be returning sovereignty to the people."
National Trust People's Landscapes " that explores the role our own places have played in social change "
Land Use Challenges - increased pressure make managing land ever more complex
Land Use - RSA Commission
Back to the Land - Green Alliance
Land Rush: The Sellout of Europe's Farmland says: " We need a European debate of the future of land ownership and agricultural concentration, to enable us to join forces in forging a new social contract for the future of our land."

Who own England's grouse moors?

The Spectator describes these estates as "economic deserts without parallel. "

Land values

May drop by 1/5 as a result of Brexit. "Property experts Savills said farmland was likely to be the worst-hit sector in the entire UK residential and commercial property sector"..however
English land prices resilient to Brexit (Jan '19) "The value of farmland is being supported by strong interest from lifestyle buyers, investors and high net worth individuals, with farmers accounting for less than half of all purchases in 2018. " "the immediate future lack of supply is anticipated to support values."
How CAP has affected land prices. ""Many landowners have acted already, diversifying into everything from adventure tourism to commercial woodland. Others have sold up, anxious about keeping farms solvent in the absence of subsidies. "
'Land for the many' Changing the way our fundamental asset is used, owned and governed is an independent report commissioned by the Labour Party. It "aims to put land where it belongs: at the heart of political debate and discussion". It proposes radical but practical changes including 'free and open access to information on who owns land,' 'discourage land and housing from being treated as financial assets ' 'Local authorities should be empowered to lead local development', 'support the creation of Community Land Trusts and Community-Led Housing', 'a new Public Realm use', 'one year for the mandatory provision of land for allotments', 'halting and reversing the sell-off of County Farms', 'creating a Community Land Fund, with a target of £200m of land in community ownership by 2030' ;'Right to Roam across all uncultivated land and water' and 'a new body to research ongoing issues involving the ownership, use and control of land, and to propose new policies.' "The sense that even in discussing land we are trespassing is so strong that this critical issue remains off the agenda."
Look at the land is a sister/brother site that looks at how the land (in North West) could look very different. Land is not static, it depends what we want to do with it

Burning bog

"In April 2016 the European Commission took the first steps in legal infraction against the UK government in relation to the burning of blanket bog in Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) in all of northern England, saying our government had not carried out a risk assessment as required by the Habitats Directive". (Stanley Johnson - father of Boris and Jo - made this Directive happen). In 2017, the EC sent a final warning.

I wonder what has happened to that?

The highest bidder The Highest Bidder Takes It All: The World Bank’s Scheme to Privatize the Commons details how the Bank’s prescribes reforms, via a new land indicator in the Enabling the Business of Agriculture (EBA) project, promotes large-scale land acquisitions and the expansion of agribusinesses in the developing world.

Land Rights

History of Land Rights and protest in song - '3 Acres and a cow' (see origin below)
Assarting is the act of clearing forested lands for use in agriculture or other purposes. In English land law, it was illegal to assart any part of a Royal forest without permission. This was the greatest trespass that could be committed. I lived in on a farm - off Woodhouse Lane - in the heart of assarting in Newton and Slaidburn, Lancashire and mentioned in the of the Making of the Central Pennines. Our farm(s) were allocated by Duchy of Lancaster in 1621 - avoiding any assarters. For more
The Duchy of Lancaster (aka Queen) still owns neighbouring land - and receives around £1/4 million in EU subsidies. Whatever happens we want to get our hands on that. Having seen her recent programme Green Plant showing her love of trees, where she is promoted a Commonwealth Canopy, I'm going to write to her suggesting she starts here - by getting rid of the heather moor for orouse shooting and replacing with forest - lovely mixed woods with fruits and nuts. Good for health good for Climate change and good for the soil.

Land Nationalisation

Land nationalisation seems to have been dropped off all political agendas. Which is surprising when some of the push for Brexit was to 'control our borders'. It seems that does not include controlling our land more.
Yet over 130 years ago, Alfred Russel Wallace was the president of the Land Nationalisation Society. Do you remember his name? He was the co-founder of the theory of evolution, but a bit more interesting than the other co-founder - Charles Darwin!
Click to read book dedication

Community Ownership

Community ownership should become a “normal and realistic” option for communities to acquire land and assets says report, prepared for Ministers by the Scottish Land Commission. It recommends that there needs to be a “clear vision” for how community ownership can become a mainstream way to deliver development and regeneration in rural communities.
Falls in land coming to market in Wales, Scotland and England. There was significant drop in land sales in mid 2018 due to Brexit uncertainty. The picture for sales is very mixed. The very best properties are making record prices, but farms that require investment, or with no potential to generate additional income streams, are not. More in Farmland Market

County Farms

The extent of County Farms (those owned by local authorities to let to young and first time buyers), has halved in last 40 years - from nearly half a million acres to less than a quarter. The origin of County Farms came during late Victorian agricultural depression. In a letter to Joseph Chamberlain (Theresa May’s political hero) the phrase “three acres and a cow” was used by land reformers and later used by 'distributists' in 1920s. This was believed adequate for people to live on.
Full extent of decline in County farms. There has been a decrease of 3% in local authority farms in a year, described as "a major blow to the agricultural industry and its new entrants. "
Conference on future of Country Farms

Climate Change Committee says changes in land use must happen: "Change provides the opportunity to maximise the use of land as a natural store for carbon and as a regulator of natural hazards such as flooding....This includes increased tree planting, improved forest management, restoration of peatlands, and shifts to low-carbon farming practices, which improve soil and water quality. "

Agro-environment Schemes

The Agro-environmental schemes have proved pretty ineffective and not very favourable with farmers because ofr cumbersom procedures. Bittersweet Brexit spelt out how agro-environment schemes as they are at present do little for the environment.
The CLA, NFU, TFA, CAAV, FWAG, GWCT, The Wildlife Trusts, RSPB and the National Trust wrote to the Environment Secretary calling for a commitment to ensure those in England with a Countryside Stewardship agreement are not at a disadvantage when the Government launches a new and improved system of environmental land management payments after EU exit.
Land Banks.
Pension funds buying Green Belt land to make money