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UK’s largest estates to be unvelied

A vast amount of information relating to land ownership in the UK will soon become available to the public for the first time. Under an EU directive some of the country’s oldest and most secretive families, including the Queen and Prince Charles’, are to reveal the full scale of their private estates.

The Land Registry’s INSPIRE View Service is being implemented as part of the final stage of a four-year programme to address the UK Location Strategy, set up in response to the EU INSPIRE Directive.

The EU INSPIRE Directive was introduced in 2007 with the principal aim of improving environmental policy making in Europe. Under INSPIRE, Member States must make available in a consistent format spatial datasets within the scope of the Directive, and create services for accessing these datasets. This will enable datasets to be more easily shared and the expectation is that they can be combined to benefit the development and monitoring of environmental policy and practice in all Member States and across the European Union. The INSPIRE Regulations came into effect in the UK on 31 December 2009.

Information collated under the Directive includes freehold polygons, which trace the boundaries of freehold ownerships in the UK. The Land Registry website will enable users to look up the title details of polygons through a pay-per-view service. The Queen and the Prince of Wales are among the biggest landowners who are co-operating with the Land Registry.

The Land Registry’s INSPIRE View Service will launch on 9 November 2011.

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