Transforming Vacant and Derelict Land

Scotland has far too much unused, unproductive vacant and derelict land.

Astonishingly, the country currently has around 11,600 hectares of vacant and derelict land across 3,700 sites. This is roughly the equivalent to twice the size of Dundee or over 9,000 football pitches. A register of disused property was set up 30 years ago and many great project have re-used land productively, but the total area has barely changed.

Vacant and derelict land, whatever the size, affects our communities and their potential. Over time it can damage an area, resulting in social, economic and environmental harm.

However, these sites also present opportunities for long term regeneration and renewal – unlocking growth, reviving communities and reducing inequalities.

One of the Scottish Land Commission’s long term aims is a substantial reduction in Scotland’s long-term vacant and derelict land. The Land Commission has signed a Sustainable Growth Agreement with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency to work together to achieve this outcome. Together, we want to transform the existing approach to bringing vacant and derelict land back into productive use.

Currently, no single public body has overall strategic responsibility for vacant and derelict land. To help address this, our Task Force, comprised of senior decision-makers from relevant regulatory agencies, private companies and third sector organisations, has been established. The Task Force will act as a catalyst for addressing long-term land vacancy and dereliction across Scotland.

Underpinning the work of the task-force is a programme of research and analysis to help better understand the nature of the challenge, identify potential changes to policy and practice, share experience of successful projects and launch a vacant and derelict land tool kit.

This is no small task. Much of Scotland’s vacant and derelict land has been in that condition for many years – in some cases decades. However, by collaborating with others we will look to halve the amount of land on the register by 2025.

Watch this short video about the Shettleston Growing Project to see how the community have transformed vacant and derelict land.


Scottish Vacant and Derelict Land Survey – Site Register

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