Letter: Opening up the Land Registry

By: Shelter
Published: November 2016

Letter: Opening up the Land Registry - joint letter to the Secretary of State, November 2016

The Land Registry contains vital information on who owns the vast majority of England and Wales. Great strides have been made by Government since 2010 to open up data – increasing transparency and accountability and boosting the economy and public participation.  

The Land Registry, however, still charges the public £3 for each and every land title and plan. Yet far from being an important source of revenue, these charges in fact account for a very small proportion of the Land Registry’s annual income, with the vast bulk of income coming from conveyancing services.

We ask that the Secretary of State open up the Land Registry. The economic, social and environmental benefits of making land ownership data open could be vast. We envisage it being used for all sorts of purposes: enabling councils and neighbourhood planning fora to identify spare land for house-building; assisting SMEs with finding business premises; helping communities locate derelict land for food-growing or recreation; allowing conservation charities to link up landowners to create wildlife corridors; aiding flood prevention by encouraging whole catchment management between the owners of land along rivers. The opportunities are manifold and exciting.