Last edited 15 Dec 2021


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Land is : 'The terrestrial portion of the biosphere that comprises the natural resources (soil, near-surface air,
vegetation and other biota, and water), the ecological processes, topography, and human settlements and infrastructure that operate within that system.' (UNCCD, 1994; FAO, 2007).

In English law, the term 'land’ includes not only the ground, but also:

Land is defined by the Law of Property Act 1925 as including ' of any tenure, and mines and minerals...buildings or parts of buildings...and other corporeal hereditaments; also...a rent, and other incorporeal hereditaments, and an easement right, privilege, or benefit in, over, or derived from land.'

'Corporeal hereditaments' is an archaic term for the land and fixtures, whilst incorporeal hereditaments refers to the invisible interests in land such as mortgages and easements.

All land in England and Wales must be registered on the land register which is maintained by the Land Registry. When land or property is entered in the register, the Land Registry will then record details such as changes of ownership, mortgages or leases that affect it and so on. For more information, see Land register.

The process of buying a piece of land is known as land acquisition, and the amount of money that a piece of land, along with the property contained on it, is priced at is known as the land value. The process of transferring the ownership of land and property from one party to another is known as conveyancing.

According to HMRC, a chattel (an asset which is tangible and moveable) may become a fixture if it is fixed to a building or land. This is an important distinction with regard to rightful ownership of items when land is sold.

Stamp duty land tax is payable on the purchase or transfer of property or land in the UK which has a value above a certain threshold. For more information see: Stamp duty land tax.

The owner of land is considered to own the rights to airspace limited to a height that is necessary for ordinary use and enjoyment of the land, as well as the layers beneath it, unless these rights are relinquished (e.g. sold for the purposes of mining). Any wild animals and fish that are found on the land within the boundaries are also considered to be owned by the landowner.

Land is often defined as being either greenfield land (i.e. not constrained by existing buildings or infrastructure) or brownfield land (i.e. that which is or was occupied by a permanent structure).

See also: Types of land.

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