Tag: vacant and derelict

National focus needed to realise the opportunities of transforming derelict land, Taskforce says

The Vacant and Derelict Land Taskforce is challenging all sectors in Scotland to help bring land back into productive use and prevent future sites from being abandoned.

Set up last year by the Scottish Land Commission and SEPA, the taskforce has today published a Statement of Intent with actions required to make this happen, at a national level. These are:

  • Coordinate priorities for action and align finance and support
  • Use the rich data Scotland has about vacant and derelict sites to promote opportunities for re-use of land
  • Learn through demonstration what changes are needed in regulatory, policy and finance systems
  • Embed a socially responsible corporate culture to prevent future sites being abandoned

The proposals are informed by a new report published by the Commission that sets out for the first time, an analysis of the different types of sites on the vacant and derelict land register and the challenges of bringing them back into use.

The report highlights some recent – inspiring – examples and shows how local authorities and other public agencies have helped drive these projects forward. The report also seeks to understand the factors behind a core of persistent, so-called ‘stuck sites’ – usually older, larger and derelict sites – some of which have been on the register for decades. It is these “persistently problematic” sites that the Task Force most wants to tackle.  Bringing these unloved urban spaces back into productive use can play a major role in reducing social inequalities; addressing climate change; improving health and delivering inclusive growth. For example, the sites could be used to:

  • Build new homes to limit urban sprawl and reduce commuting
  • Provide new allotments and city farms for fresh food grown locally
  • Create new parks and green spaces adding to biodiversity and wellbeing
  • Attract new investment, creating jobs and wealth in parts of the country that need it most
  • Generate renewable energy, potentially helping to tackle fuel poverty in poorer communities

The report also highlights the risks of further sites being abandoned.  A key aim of the Taskforce going forward will be to embed a responsible approach to land reuse in corporate culture, to prevent sites being abandoned and left in future.

Taskforce chairman, Steve Dunlop said:

“The Taskforce was created to tackle the persistent challenge of derelict land in Scotland and by focusing on these four key actions we can work together to unlock this opportunity.

“We are excited about the opportunity to join community voices and ensure particular policies are at the heart of this. We want to unlock the opportunity for current vacant and derelict sites and stem the flow of new sites being abandoned.

“Communities must be at the heart of the land re-use, through community-led regeneration.”

Hamish Trench, Scottish Land Commission chief executive, said:

“Scotland has a legacy of ‘stuck sites’ with a majority in either current or former public sector ownership.  We need to work together to put procedures in place to ensure that this legacy doesn’t continue.

“Transforming vacant and derelict sites opens up opportunities to promote inclusive growth and greater wellbeing, while tackling climate change. What’s clear is that this needs a national co-ordination to create the focus and changes needed.

“The Statement of Intent sets out the actions that both Government and other partners can take as a co-ordinated national effort.”

Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Roseanna Cunningham said:

“Too much land in Scotland is currently unused. The Scottish Government recognises the huge opportunity that represents, and it’s our priority to ensure that as much of that land as possible is unlocked – acting as a catalyst for community and environmental regeneration.

“The Taskforce was created to help realise that ambition and I welcome their report, which sets out in clear detail what must be done in order to make long term, sustainable change.”

Part of the Land Commission’s ongoing work is to establish ways to measure the additional public value that re-use of derelict land can deliver, beyond simple monetary gain, along with the adverse effects that continued derelict sites have on communities – often those in greatest need. The Commission is also developing a thematic approach to land re-use which can be used as a springboard for projects, whether it is a large site needing a multi-agency approach or a smaller site that could provide a boost to local community aspirations.

Scottish Land Commission creates stronger links to green network

Transforming vacant and derelict land should deliver environmental benefit to communities throughout central Scotland, the Scottish Land Commission said today (June 6).

Speaking in Glasgow at the Central Scotland Green Network (CSGN) forum, Commission chief executive Hamish Trench said the fair and productive use of land lay at the heart of land reform, and this included ensuring green spaces for healthy communities.

He said: “There are more than 9,000 hectares of vacant and derelict land in the CSGN area; which accounts for 78 per cent of Scotland’s total.

“The CSGN and the Commission believe this land holds huge potential to help make better places that support health and wellbeing, help boost the economy and mitigate against the challenges of climate change. In addition, by rejuvenating these areas communities stand to benefit from increased engagement and empowerment, tackling social inequalities while increasing local pride and ownership.”

The Scottish Land Commission has also agreed a concordat with the CSGN to support transformation of vacant and derelict sites. In it, the two bodies agree to:

  • Work in partnership to identify and create positive uses for vacant and derelict land
  • Recognise and promote green network/green infrastructure solutions
  • Incorporate the emerging priorities from the Vacant and Derelict Land Taskforce into CSGN-related strategies and plans
  • Share emerging data, analyses and market intelligence

Through the taskforce, launched last year, the Commission has a long term aim to substantially reduce vacant and derelict land in Scotland. Work is already underway to better understand the nature of the challenge, identify potential changes to policy and practice and to share experience of successful projects through demonstrator sites with the potential to be returned to productive use.

Keith Geddes, Chair of the CSGNT said;

“We welcome the opportunity to work with the Land Commission to find new and positive uses for vacant and derelict land in the CSGN area. While there was a welcome reduction in the amount of derelict land between 2017 and 2018, much remains to be done. While some of the sites will be suitable for traditional uses such as industry, commerce and housing, many will be suitable for re-naturalisation. And we are seeking to develop innovative uses for the land. In East Ayrshire, an area blighted by the remains of open cast mines, we are working with the Council to develop the East Ayrshire Council Coalfield Communities project at an open cast site between Cumnock and New Cumnock. The project will create opportunities for learning, recreation and wellbeing and has the potential to create a quality offer to attract more tourists to the area.”

The CSGN forum is being held in partnership with the Commission. Its focus this year is on repurposing unused and underused spaces within the CSGN network area, which stretches from Ayrshire and Inverclyde in the west, to Fife and the Lothians in the east.

Not so pretty vacant. Scottish Land Commission and SEPA target new uses for derelict and vacant land

Two of Scotland’s leading land and environment bodies have set their sights on finding ways to bring thousands of acres of derelict and vacant land back into productive use.

The Scottish Land Commission and SEPA have today launched their innovative partnership and taskforce to transform Scotland’s approach to vacant and derelict land.  It will see the two organisations:

  •  Go beyond regulatory and planning compliance, to develop innovative approaches that will drive transformative  – not piecemeal – change
  • Challenge and change the way that Scotland deals with the issue of vacant and derelict land
  • Work with local authorities, other public agencies and organisations in the private and social enterprise sectors to identify the causes and consequences of long-term land vacancy and dereliction
  • Develop a 10 year strategy for eradicating the problem, setting ambitious targets supported at a local and national level.

The Scottish Vacant and Derelict Land Survey (SVDLS) was first set up 30 years ago, yet the amount of registered land has remained virtually static. There are currently around 11,600 hectares, two times the size of the City of Dundee, of derelict and urban vacant land in Scotland.

A new taskforce has been created, chaired by Steve Dunlop, Chief Executive Scottish Enterprise, to bring together leaders from the public, private and social enterprise sectors.  The taskforce will challenge and reshape the approach to bringing sites back into use which will have both economic and social benefits for all of Scotland.  Supported by the Land Commission and SEPA, the taskforce has the ambitious goal of halving the amount of Scotland’s derelict land by 2025.  The partnership and taskforce was launched today at the at ‘Unlocking Inclusive Growth: The Social Value Gathering’ conference in Edinburgh.

Launching the partnership and taskforce, Land Reform Secretary, Roseanna Cunningham said:

“Scotland has far too much unused, unproductive land.  As the Programme for Government makes clear, land can play a major role in creating high-quality places that support Scotland’s health, wellbeing and prosperity.  The Scottish Government fully support the Scottish Land Commission and SEPA in investigating how this land could be better utilised by communities across the country, and I am keen to see an ambitious and innovative approach to this stubborn problem.

“The ‘unlocking’ of vacant and derelict land touches on a number of important strands of work, including planning and regeneration.  It is also another key strand of our ambitious land reform agenda, which includes a recent commitment to continue our £10 million annual funding of the Scottish Land Fund, the creation of a register of controlling interests in land, and we’re exploring the expansion of existing Community Right to Buy mechanisms.”

Chair of the Taskforce Steve Dunlop said:

“In disadvantaged areas of Scotland it is estimated that three in every five people live within 500 metres of a vacant or derelict site.  The taskforce will help drive practical action and look for innovative ways to make productive use of vacant and derelict land for housing, commercial and green space uses.

”Rejuvenating vacant and derelict land brings about long term regeneration and renewal – unlocking growth, reviving communities, increasing community empowerment, reducing inequalities and inspiring local pride and activities”

Chief Executive of the Scottish Land Commission, Hamish Trench, said:

“The partnership with SEPA and the creation of the Taskforce is a catalyst for change from across the sectors in our approach to vacant and derelict land. We want to identify what can be done with policy, legislation and action to release this land to benefit the communities living in and around it, making more of Scotland’s land do more for Scotland’s people.

“As part of that we, along with the taskforce, are looking at tools and mechanisms to address the problem of vacant and derelict land with scope for far more innovation in finding ways to bring the land back into productive use.

“There are already some inspiring – recent – examples of what can be achieved in our cities and we want to encourage more of these approaches.”

SEPA Chief Executive, Terry A’Hearn, said:

“Climate change, marine plastics and extreme weather events show that we are putting too much pressure on the environment. We are over-using the planet. But we are under-using some of our land.

“This Sustainable Growth Agreement with Scottish Land Commission is designed to fix this problem. This innovative partnership will transform Scotland’s approach to bringing vacant and derelict land back into productive use by turning once dormant liabilities into national assets.”

Recent examples of transforming vacant or derelict land for productive use include

  •  The Shettleston Growing Project in Glasgow which has created a thriving community garden on land previously used for storing building materials
  • The recently completed Social Bite Village in Granton, Edinburgh to provide attractive accommodation for homeless people
  • Scotland’s biggest and most ambitious regeneration programme Clyde Gateway has brought a number of large scale vacant derelict land sites back in to productive use, with the most recent being Magenta.
  • Regeneration of a 28-acre site, formerly the home of Johnnie Walker, generating inward investment and stimulating jobs at.HALO Kilmarnock

Find out more