Wind farms drive 42% surge in Crown Estate’s property profits

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Earnings from the British monarchy’s multibillion-pound legacy portfolio of land and property holdings have surged 42 per cent, offering a great addition to UK public funds within the wake of King Charles’ determination to cut back the royal take from offshore wind farms.

The Crown Property, which owns the seabed surrounding Britain as much as 12 nautical miles, mentioned on Thursday that it had generated £442.6mn in income within the final monetary 12 months, up by £129.9mn from the earlier 12 months.

The rise is basically defined by choice price revenue from six offshore wind farm licenses that got here into impact in January. This offset an general decline within the worth of its property portfolio.

Sturdy wind speeds and comparatively shallow waters have helped the UK develop an enormous offshore wind trade over the previous 20 years, with put in capability of just about 14 gigawatts, second solely to China.

Offshore wind equipped about 11 per cent of UK electrical energy in 2021 and that is set to develop with the federal government wanting capability to succeed in 50 gigawatts by 2030.

The six lease agreements introduced in January embrace initiatives off the coasts of Yorkshire and Cumbria, to be developed by firms together with BP and TotalEnergies. The marine portfolio, which includes such leases, now accounts for greater than a 3rd of the Crown Property’s general worth.

“Our enhanced income from the . . . offshore wind leasing programme displays the immense quantity of groundbreaking work we have now undertaken over the previous twenty years, working in partnership throughout many sectors, to create a world-leading offshore wind market,” Crown Property chief government Dan Labbad mentioned.

The property has contributed £3.2bn to the Treasury over the previous 10 years, throughout which the worth of its portfolio has risen to £16bn, he added.

Former prime minister David Cameron shook up the best way the monarchy is financed in 2011, changing a hard and fast annual expenditure often known as the civil checklist — which was determined by the Treasury and overseen by parliament — with a sovereign grant.

The latter is made up of 15 per cent of income from the Crown Property, which had been administered completely for the advantage of the state since 1760. As well as, one other 10 per cent of Crown Property income was granted by former chancellor George Osborne in direction of the renovation of Buckingham Palace.

The adjustments have led, partly because of the growth within the UK’s offshore wind farm trade, to an enormous enhance within the quantity the Treasury pays out to the monarchy, rising from £7.9mn in 2011 to £86.3mn final 12 months.

The six new wind farm leases have been set to generate greater than £8bn for the Crown Property over the subsequent decade. Individuals campaigning for reform of the monarchy, together with the previous Liberal Democrat minister Norman Baker, have described the 25 per cent share the royal household is entitled to as an efficient tax on renewable power.

Nevertheless, King Charles in January introduced that he could be redirecting his share within the income from wind farms to “the broader public good.”

Neither the Treasury nor the Crown Property have clarified precisely how wind farm income will now be divided up, nor has authorities introduced but any doable adjustments to the sovereign grant which can come up since King Charles acceded to the throne.

There have been much less beneficial omens for the broader UK property market, with the Crown Property saying that the worth of its retail areas exterior London had dropped nearly twice as a lot as that of high-end properties within the capital.

Regional properties’ worth dropped by 11.8 per cent to £1.5bn within the 12 months to the tip of March owing to adverse market sentiment over out-of-town retail parks. London property additionally dropped 6.5 per cent to £7.2bn.

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