Church of England to assert right to minerals

The Church Commissioners is applying to the Land Registry to register the Church of England’s ownership of mineral rights which have become detached from the ownership of the surface of the land, the Independent has reported.
Holding the mineral rights to land means that the Church would be able to extract the minerals, although digging to access these would need the permission of the land-owner.  Registering the rights can also have a ‘nuisance’ value.  This is because some land-owners will pay to reattach the mineral rights to the land.
The Independent reports that residents in Hindolveston, Norfolk have received notice from the Land Registry that the Church Commisssioners are applying to register their rights.  
The Land Registration Act set a deadline of October 2013 for owners of mineral rights to register them officially.  After this time, any rights to the minerals are lost.  
A Church spokesman said:
"The purpose of the exercise is to make these interests transparent in accordance with the Land Registration Act 2002 so that the Land Register will show who owns the surface and, where severed, who owns the minerals interest.  This is all about properly registering existing interests, not claiming new ones."
The Duchy of Cornwall has also applied to register mineral rights in land in Talskiddy.  Villagers told the BBC that they were concerned about the effect this could have on their properties.  In a statement the Duchy of Cornwall said that:
“The Duchy of Cornwall is having to register its mineral rights with HM Land Registry in order to preserve them for the future.  This does not mean that the duchy has any intention at this time to work the minerals.  The duchy has owned these mineral rights for many centuries — it is simply a case of the duchy registering its existing rights.”
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