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Transforming Vacant and Derelict Land

The legacy of Scotland’s industrial past means that almost a third of the Scottish population lives within 500 meters of a derelict site. In deprived communities that figure increases to 55%. The amount of land on the Vacant and Derelict Land Register has remained static for years, and the consequences of this for wellbeing are enormous.

Never has the importance of high quality places been more important or their absence so keenly felt. But it doesn’t have to be this way. These sites could be so much more – they could help us solve some of our biggest challenges.

Bringing abandoned and unloved urban places back into productive use could help us tackle climate change, improve health and wellbeing, create more resilient communities and rebuild our economy in a way that helps everyone achieve their full potential.

In 2018 the Scottish Land Commission and SEPA established a national taskforce to help realise this opportunity. The Vacant and Derelict Land Taskforce brought together senior representatives from around 30 businesses, public bodies and third sector organisations who have spent two years working to transform the existing approach to bringing vacant and derelict land back into productive use. 

The taskforce has made a series of recommendations to Scottish Government to transform Scotland’s approach to tackling the legacy of derelict land and ensure that it is no longer acceptable to allow land to fall into long term disrepair.

Have a look at the map of Scotland's long-term derelict urban sites which locates over 500 of Scotland’s long-term derelict urban sites. The map highlights opportunities for reuse and also where there is some activity is underway – whether that’s nature already claiming land and supporting local biodiversity or where redevelopment is ongoing. To help share learning, the map showcases long-term derelict urban sites that have been repurposed.

Transforming Scotland's approach to vacant and derelict land - recommendations from members of the Taskforce
Assessing the wider benefits of bringing derelict land back into use

We have published a programme of research and analysis to help better understand the nature of the challenge, the impact of vacant and derelict land on communities, identify potential changes to policy and practice and share experience of successful projects.

To help communities and decision makers properly assess the impacts of vacant and derelict sites we have created a toolkit alongside a funding table identifying the different sources of funding available for regeneration of derelict sites.

A framework has also been developed to assess the impact of bringing sites back into use that takes account of wider social, environmental and community benefits. This framework will help change Scotland’s approach to land reuse to look beyond narrow financial returns and capture the wider benefits that the reuse of sites could generate for society.

Bringing abandoned and unloved urban places back into productive use could help us tackle climate change, improve health and wellbeing, create more resilient communities and rebuild our economy in a way that helps everyone achieve their full potential. 

Here are some inspiring examples of what can be done

Case Studies

Shettleston Growing Project

Shettleston Growing Project have used reclaimed contaminated land to provide an urban garden for the community

link to Shettleston Growing Project case study

Raining Stairs, Inverness

Redevelopment of derelict land brings affordable housing back into Inverness city centre

link to Raining Stairs, Inverness case study

Wishawhill Wood Pump Track, Wishaw

Creating a world-class community facility on a vacant and derelict site providing a place where young people are welcome and are free to learn new biking skills

link to Wishawhill Wood Pump Track, Wishaw case study

Baltic Street Adventure Playground, Glasgow

Creating a safe outdoor play space for children in one of Scotland’s most deprived areas, an arts and architecture-led project created the Baltic Street Adventure Playground.

link to Baltic Street Adventure Playground, Glasgow case study

Canal and North Gateway, Glasgow

Scottish Canals and NatureScot transforming the land around the canal corridor between Firhill and Port Dundas

link to Canal and North Gateway, Glasgow case study

Vacant and Derelict Land publications

  • Housing & Development

* Guidance on Assessing the Full Economic Benefits of the Productive Reuse of Land

686.29 KB

  • Housing & Development

* Overview of the Vacant and Derelict Land Taskforce Recommendations

489.74 KB

  • Housing & Development

* Transforming Vacant and Derelict Land in Scotland - Case Studies

955.67 KB

  • Housing & Development

* Vacant and Derelict Land Community Impact Tool

512.34 KB

  • Housing & Development

* Vacant and Derelict Land Taskforce Recommendations

1.59 MB

  • Housing & Development

A Review of Funding Sources for the Re-use of Vacant and Derelict Land

1.08 MB

  • Housing & Development

Compulsory Sales Orders - a proposal from the Scottish Land Commission

725.86 KB

  • Housing & Development

Funding Sources for Bringing Vacant and Derelict Land Back in to Use

1.37 MB

  • Housing & Development

Reusing Vacant and Derelict Land: Case Studies

3.25 MB

  • Housing & Development

The Case for Change: A New Approach to Assessing the Benefits of the Productive Reuse of Land

1.27 MB

  • Housing & Development

Vacant and Derelict Land in Scotland: Assessing the Impact of Vacant and Derelict Land on Communities

848.50 KB

  • Housing & Development

Vacant and Derelict Land Report - Ryden

1.49 MB

  • Housing & Development

Vacant and Derelict Land Report - Ryden - Appendix 1

27.72 KB

  • Housing & Development

Vacant and Derelict Land Report - Ryden - Appendix 2 (part a)

916.24 KB

  • Housing & Development

Vacant and Derelict Land Report - Ryden - Appendix 2 (part b)

826.29 KB

  • Housing & Development

Vacant and Derelict Land Report - Ryden - Appendix 2 (part c)

1.20 MB

  • Housing & Development

Vacant and Derelict Land Report - Ryden - Appendix 3

446.61 KB

  • Housing & Development

Vacant and Derelict Land Taskforce Statement of Intent

2.03 MB