1. The Crown Estate Commissioners (CEC) are a statutory
corporation responsible for the management of the Crown properties
and property rights known as the Crown Estate.
For a public body that has been in existence for some 50 years,
the CEC have been subject to remarkably little scrutiny. Indeed
we believe that our inquiry is the first into the CEC by a House
of Commons Select Committee for over 20 years.
We decided that an inquiry was long overdue, not least because
the activities conducted by the CEC matter.
2. They matter because of the revenue they provide
the Treasurythe CEC contributed £226.5 million to
the Consolidated Fund last year, and £1.8 billion over the
last ten years. They matter because of the extent of the property
portfolio that the CEC manage around the UK, and particularly
in central London where their assets include Regent Street and
St James's. And they matter because of the pivotal role the CEC
play in the marine environment wherethrough their management
of territorial seabed rights and the vested rights over the UK
continental shelf areas (excluding oil, gas and coal)they
have the ability to influence, for better or ill, the development
of a number of important new economic developments, including
the development of marine renewable sources of energy. In short,
they matter both from a narrow financial Treasury perspective,
and from a wider public interest perspective.
3. During the course of our inquiry, we held two
oral evidence sessions and received over 40 written memoranda
from a wide variety of stakeholders, serving to emphasise the
extent of the CEC's interests in urban, rural and marine environments.
We would like to thank all those who contributed evidence and
helped us gain a fuller understanding of a uniquepeculiarly
4. Finally, we would like to extend our thanks to
our specialist adviser to this inquiry, Mr Robin Callander, an
independent special adviser with particular expertise in the role
and operation of the CEC and the nature of the Crown Estate, for
his invaluable contribution.
1 Somewhat confusingly the CEC also usually refer to
themselves as The Crown Estate (TCE) - with a capital T. In this
report we reserve the title "the Crown Estate" for the
properties and property rights and refer to the management body
as the CEC. Back
Public Accounts Committee, Eleventh Report of Session 1988-89,
The Crown Estate, HC 95 Back
Robin Callander declared that he had no relevant interests. Back