June 13, 2022
Got some vacant land near you?
Scotland’s industrial heritage undoubtedly generated great wealth for the country but also left a legacy of vast tracts of vacant and derelict urban land – almost 11,000 hectares (approx 16,000 football pitches) – with one in three of the population living within 500 metres of a derelict site. In 2020, the Scottish Land Commission published a series of recommendations to transform our whole approach to the problem of vacant and derelict land. Part of which was a very handy step by step guide for communities who have identified some problematic land or buildings and want to do something about it.
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.