Asked for his advice on how young entrepreneurs should succeed, the late Gerald Grosvenor once replied: “Make sure they have an ancestor who was a very close friend of William the Conqueror.” 
The UK especially needs a land value tax as they have one of the highest population densities in europe.
That's not to say we don't have housing problems, but they are not rooted in "there isn't enough land".
Wow, a figurative AND literal loophole!
Interesting tidbit: "The government only released this INSPIRE data because of a European directive, which it tried to oppose."
People with dodgy money would indeed like to buy English land, partly for the legal certainty you suggest, and partly because we've historically been very slow to ask from where you got it...
The echo's of the ECW still effect politics in the UK today
There are also large lots in the U.S. that aren't owned by anybody. The last two subdivisions I lived in had tracts that were not owned by anybody, just wilderness.
This interests me immensely, as I'd love to figure out how to take ownership of these "unowned" wilderness parcels, get some title insurance for them (if someone shows up with unrecorded ownership interest, there is some recourse then), and then deed them to land conservation entities to preserve them indefinitely. Small efforts in helping the US get closer to Europe as it relates to ownership of land where anyone can still walk, hike, camp on the land ("Freedom To Roam") .
> the government should require all land to be registered, with details of its beneficial owner, before it can receive farm subsidies.
Not much use to the state if I buy 10k hectares, leave as it is, and 800 years from now my descendants claim it.
If you can't find the owner that doesn't mean there isn't one. They can turn up at any point with a deed that nobody else knows about and only they have a copy of and say "this is mine".
Yes it's stupid.
Interestingly, the UK has a "squatter's rights" law not many people know about. If you fence off some land and use it, it effectively becomes your property after a number of years if no one challenges you.
I've seen people use this to extend their gardens into common land.
I expect the idea here is that the subsidy seeker probably has an idea as to whose land it is they're using, and thus could go ping the owner for registration so they can get their subsidies back. This is especially likely if the registration is easy and free: chances are the owner simply has not bothered registering the land because they have no need to and can't be arsed, being asked to by an acquaintance would be sufficient a motivation to eventually check in with the local authorities.
Although a lot of farmers rent land to each other so that complicates things a little.
> the land on which any activity is to be undertaken […] and for which the financial assistance is sought is registered with Her Majesty's Land Registry.
So farm subsidy submissions would be cross-referenced with the Land Registry, and any such submissions listing unregistered land would be rejected off-hand.
I suppose you could squat on it, and wait for someone to evict you.
The old Land Titles Office buildings were built as fireproof strongrooms, much like we build data centres today:
Unfortunately we are still suffering from Thatcherite ideology, which is dooming us to corruption:
And woeful blockchainery:
A family member of mine did this when the neighbours were being somewhat contentious as the official map data showed a part of her garden to be their land but the land registry people simply remarked the boundary officially on the historical wall.
"Elite" qualifies the owners, not the property. The Church of England and the crown are most certainly elite entities.
Land as an attack surface.
Having the paper-records was fascinating, and I seeing the initial owners staying there for 10-20 years, then a few periods where the property changed hands every 1-3 years, for ever increasing sums of money.
At the time I received them I was told "Yeah you don't need these, really, they're registered in the Scottish land registry". But when I came to sell the place - from abroad, no less - the first demand from the solicitors who I'd hired to manage the sale was "Please mail us the deeds".
I was almost tempted to keep them and say "Sorry, they're lost" to see what would happen. But selling a property from a foreign country was enough of a hassle that I didn't go through with it.
I do wish I'd taken photographs though, as the legalese was very nice to read.
Exclusively storing any data set in a single location is a bad idea, yes. But that's not an argument against a centralised register of all land ownership. My property is registered with the Land Registry but I keep a copy of the documents and my solicitor keeps the same in their files.
And I am not a lawyer btw so take all this with a pinch of salt :)
So the lack of tax on land value is interesting here, because I would assume the next street is also leasehold - perhaps some of the missing information could be crowdsourced here, by those paying the lease, although would that fall afoul of some other law?
 though it was already paved over with paving slabs, so a bit of a waste of time
Sometimes it makes sense, for flats/apartments say, but rarely beyond that. It has been used recently by house builders to gather rent from people who thought they were owners, basically add in quite considerable hidden costs. Leases get sold on and the new owners add considerable "maintenance" fees, like hundreds of pounds per year (for which they literally do nothing, except administer the charges).
They think the next street is possibly owned by the council as it has a few council houses on it.
If there is a need to discover the true owners, you go to court and describe your need to a judge. If the judge agrees, a legally-enforceable order is issued which you take to the trustee and they then reveal the ownership/beneficiary structure.
The trustee is publicly registered, so you can accomplish most of the "I need to know the owner" tasks without knowing the owner. For example, I need a zoning change and must send notice to all property owners within 1 mile, or a tree on your property fell onto my property and destroyed my shed and you owe me money, etc. Send your letter to the trustee: they have a duty to deal with it.
Oh and it is not useful for finding unregistered roads - it makes it look like all roads are unregistered.
Most roads started out as private land. At some point the road was adopted by the local authority. They can then define a highway boundary which is the land they have legal authority over. This can sit on top of existing ownership, who can retain the freehold.
You just see gaps because the owner decided to register the plot. The land registry will then try and guess where the highway boundary is, and sometimes get it wrong. But it is perfectly possible for the road to revert to the freeholder if the highway is removed.
A road getting built today by the local authority wouldn't have this arrangement would it?
The author said on Twitter that's deliberate to stop people over-interpreting the fairly crude geometries.
"Sorry, you need to use a newer browser to see the map"