The management of the Crown Estate - Treasury Contents


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.[1] 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[2]. 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 Treasury—the 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 where—through 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 unique—peculiarly British—organisation.

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.[3]

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

2   Public Accounts Committee, Eleventh Report of Session 1988-89, The Crown Estate, HC 95 Back

3   Robin Callander declared that he had no relevant interests. Back

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