Duchy of Lancaster Annual Report and Accounts for Year Ended 31st March 2018

The Duchy of Lancaster has today published its financial results for the year ended March 31st 2018.

During the year:

• Net surplus increased by 4.9 % to £20.2m
• Net asset value increased by 2.9 % to £533.8m.

Nathan Thompson, CEO and Clerk of the Duchy Council, said: “This has been another positive year for the Duchy with strong growth in almost all of our business sectors. The continued push on restoration and a more focussed in-house approach to the management of our Surveys has served us well this year and contributed significantly to further improving tenant relations, reducing voids and increasing efficiency.

“I would like to thank all members of the Duchy team and our tenant partners for their positive contributions over the past 12 months.”

The Duchy of Lancaster is a historic portfolio of land and assets held in trust for the reigning Sovereign. It provides the Monarch with a source of income that is independent of Government and the public purse. The Duchy is self-financing and does not receive any public funds in connection with its activities.

To view/download a copy of the Annual Report and Accounts for the year ended 31st March 2018, please visit the Financial Reporting page on our website (www.duchyoflancaster.co.uk).

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Ground-Breaking Technology At Marsden Gate

A new green energy plant at Marsden Gate Industrial Park is leading the way in providing a new clean and sustainable energy source for household and commercial use.

A unique two-stage conversion process developed by Advanced Plasma Power (APP) converts household waste into BioSNG (bio-substitute natural gas). The net result is a clean, modular and scalable advanced waste-to-energy fuel which delivers high efficiencies and minimises the environmental impact of waste recycling.

After a series of small-scale trials last year, the new plant received a prestigious national award from the UK Energy Institute for its ‘game-changing technology’.

Commenting on the project, Duchy Head of Urban Mike Andrews said: “This is a very exciting project and one which the Duchy is pleased to support. The removal of household waste from landfill and the production of new green energy can only help the environment and provide the UK with a more sustainable fuel source. We congratulate the team on their work to date and look forward with interest to seeing the next phase of development as the plant moves toward full commissioning.”

Rolf Stein, CEO of Advanced Plasma Power, added: “We are delighted that the trials have gone so well and to see our efforts recognised by the Energy Institute and our peers. We are working very hard to complete the project as this could make a meaningful and cost-effective contribution towards the decarbonisation of heat and transport not only in the UK but worldwide.”

Once fully commissioned, the new plant will have the capacity to convert 10,000 tonnes of local landfill waste into 22GWh of clean, green energy (BioSNG). This will produce sufficient biofuel to power 40 distribution vehicles, cutting a commercial fleet’s greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent.

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Ladies Day At The Duchy

The Duchy of Lancaster is celebrating its own Ladies Day this year with the announcement that three new appointments have been made to its inhouse team of Rural Surveyors.

Senior Asset Manager Naomi Browne joins the Duchy from Savills where she has been looking after the Staffordshire Survey for the past five years. Naomi will continue in this role as the Duchy brings the management of the Staffordshire estates inhouse and appoints Property Manager for the South of England Jonathan Sellick as Managing Director of the Staffordshire Survey.

Property Manager Rebecca Oddy also joins the Duchy this month as part of the North of England team led by Surveyor of Lands for the North, Andrew Johnson. Rebecca, who has spent the last three years as part of the land management team at Strutt & Parker, will assist Andrew on the 6,605-hectare Yorkshire Survey which includes estates in Cloughton, Pickering, Goathland and Pontefract.

Chartered Surveyor Laura Airton, currently an Associate with Fisher German, will also join the Northern team at the beginning of September. Working with Andrew Johnson, Laura will help to look after the Lancashire Survey which includes 20 main agricultural holdings, 66 commercial lettings and around 50 residential properties across four estates: Myerscough, Salwick, Whitewell and Wyreside.

Commenting on the new appointments, the Duchy’s Head of Rural Christopher Sparrow said: “We are delighted to welcome Naomi, Rebecca and Laura to the team. It is really important to us that we have the right people working in our rural teams and we are very keen to encourage and nurture exciting new talent. The mix of skills and experience they bring to the team, together with their energy and enthusiasm for the delivery of our business plan, will add significant value to us as we continue to take the business forward.”

The Duchy now manages its Southern, Lancashire, Yorkshire and Staffordshire Surveys in house. The management of the Cheshire Survey remains with Savills.

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Whitewell Recognised As Best Place To Live

The Duchy of Lancaster’s Whitewell Estate sits within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is widely acknowledged as one of the most spectacular and unspoiled landscapes in the whole of the British Isles.

Thought by some to be the inspiration for Tolkien’s ‘Shire’, Whitewell in the heart of the Ribble Valley offers breath-taking views over a wide range of landscapes and habitats. It has always been popular with those interested in outdoor sporting activities and country pursuits. Recently however it has been shortlisted by BBC Countryfile as one of the UK’s Best Holiday Destinations and national newspapers have identified it as one of the best places to live.

It’s hard to know where to put down roots in the Ribble Valley,’ writes the Sunday Times. ‘Wherever you choose, you won’t be far from magnificent scenery, with sweeping views over rolling green fields to the Forest of Bowland and Pendle Hill.’  The Guardian agrees: No printed description can ever do this Lancastrian treasure justice. Turning off the M6 you are soon into a natural landscape and the beautiful wilderness of Bowland and its stone villages.’

 The Duchy’s 6,000-acre Whitewell estate includes nine main working farms, around 24 commercial lettings, and almost 40 residential properties in and around the villages of Whitewell and Dunsop Bridge.  Many of the historic buildings available to let from the Duchy in Whitewell have been fully refurbished and redecorated in line with its new design standard and quality specification.

Commenting on the appeal of Whitwell, Duchy Head of Rural Christopher Sparrow said: “Whitewell is a secret which has been jealously guarded by those in the know – but now it looks as though the secret is out! The spectacular beauty of the countryside is not all it has to offer, either. There are a significant number of gastropubs, farmers’ markets and award-winning eateries here, including the world-famous Inn At Whitewell.

“It really is a wonderful environment in which to live, work and play and it’s no surprise that many of our tenants have remained here for several generations.”

If you would like further information on the Duchy properties available to let or coming soon on the Whitewell estate, please contact the Rural Team at our Lancaster Castle office (01524 237310).


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Sustainable Soil Strategy

The Duchy of Lancaster recently hosted a workshop on soil management for a number of farm tenants.  The event was held at the Allerton Project, a Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust research farm in Loddington. The focus of the workshop was on soil structure, chemistry and biology and it provided an opportunity to share examples of best practice.

 Members of the Duchy Rural team and tenants from Staffordshire, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire were present and shared their experiences of effective soil management techniques throughout the day. The ‘trial plots’ on site at the research farm clearly demonstrated the impact of different autumn cultivation systems on the growing arable crops, allowing for a side-by-side comparison and assessment of alternative options.

 Commenting on the day Duchy Head of Rural Christopher Sparrow said: “For many years the agricultural industry has in part given insufficient attention to the condition, management and performance of our nation’s soils. A trend of unimaginative combinable crop rotations combined with the use of aggressive agri-chemicals and artificial fertilisers to secure short-term results have tainted the soil’s capability to manage volatile weather conditions or combat the ongoing spread of yield robbing weeds such as black-grass.

 “As a responsible landowner the Duchy wants to encourage tenants to reverse this trend by actively managing, protecting and improving the quality of our soil and the way in which we look after it.”

Following feedback from those who attended the workshop the Duchy now intends to roll out similar events for its tenants in Cheshire, Lancashire and Yorkshire. The long-term aim is to help farmers prepare effective soil management strategies ahead of expected agricultural policy reforms in the UK which in turn are likely to target increased environmental protection and hopefully opportunities for soil improvement.

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