Transforming vacant and derelict land

£50 million to help bring disused land back into use.

Thousands of hectares of vacant and derelict land across Scotland will be transformed through a new £50 million programme over the next five years.

The investment will help to meet climate change targets and promote the health, wellbeing, and resilience of communities. It follows the recommendations from the Vacant and Derelict Land Taskforce and supports a fair, green recovery, as set out earlier this week in the Scottish Government’s Climate Change Plan update.

Sites that will benefit from the funding will offer opportunities for reuse that help tackle climate change, such as: low carbon, quality, affordable housing; woodland and other greenspaces; low carbon commercial and industrial developments; flood prevention measures; district heating and other community renewables projects.

Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said:

“This new £50 million programme will help to transform Scotland’s vacant and derelict land as part of a green recovery that supports all communities.

“Scotland currently has more than 11,000 hectares of registered vacant and derelict land which offers significant potential to be brought back to positive use to the benefit of communities.

“By prioritising such sites, and protecting our existing natural capital, we will ensure that future infrastructure investment goes into areas where it is needed the most, revitalising communities, town centres, and promoting 20 minute neighbourhoods.

“The policies and proposals in the Climate Change Plan update set us on the right path to deliver our net-zero target by 2045. Importantly, it highlights the need for a place-based approach, with the involvement of communities and individuals, to get us there.”

Andrew Thin, Chair of the Scottish Land Commission and Vacant and Derelict Land Taskforce, said:

“Land is central to achieving Scotland’s targets for climate change, wellbeing and the economy. Scotland’s legacy of derelict land reaches into all communities, but these sites could provide much needed greenspace, growing space, community facilities, housing or businesses.

“The Vacant and Derelict Land Taskforce recommendations aim 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. This fund demonstrates the Scottish Government commitment to bringing these sites back into use to deliver multiple benefits for both communities and the economy.

“Those communities that are most effected by derelict land are also those that have been hardest hit by COVID-19. Seeing urban land as a reusable resource, one that can be brought back into viable life to the betterment of local communities and the wider economy will help to create a greener and fairer recovery for Scotland.”


In late 2018, the Vacant & Derelict Land Taskforce was established between the Scottish Land Commission and SEPA, bringing together senior representatives from around 30 businesses, public bodies, and third sector organisations, who spent two years working to transform the existing approach to bringing vacant and derelict land back into productive use.

Their report made a series of recommendations which aims to transform Scotland’s approach to tackling the legacy of vacant and derelict land.

The Scottish Government will work with the Commission and other stakeholders to discuss and develop detailed proposals based on the recommendations to help deliver a culture change in Scotland’s approach to vacant and derelict land.

The updated Climate Change Plan 2018 – 2032 is available to view on the Scottish Government website.


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