12 Annex: Considerations when interpreting the data
A.1 Data Quality. Local authorities may not update all historic site information every survey, consequently some site information may not be current. For example, a site may be sold and change ownership type. A change like this could happen without a local authority's knowledge. When up-to date information is reported by local authorities it is included in the historical datasets to allow improved time series analysis.
A.2 Local Authority response rate. The overall data quality for a particular year will depend on how many Local Authorities have updated their survey for that year. If a Local Authority does not update their data then data for the previous year is rolled forward. This will provide a reasonable estimate but will not take account of any changes in the latest year. Data quality will also be affected by the number of years since the last update. In 2016 Dumfries & Galloway, East Lothian, Highland and West Lothian did not update their survey and so data for these local authorities is carried over from 2015. These four Local Authorities did however update their survey in 2015. Annex Table E records local authority annual participation in the survey each year since 1996.
A.3 Removal and Addition of Sites. The means by which new sites are detected are largely centred on the expert knowledge of local authority planning officers. It is important to note that Table 17, which shows new sites added since the previous survey, shows only entirely new sites that are identified as falling out of use since the previous survey. Sites that have increased in size since the previous survey or those newly identified in 2016 but highlighted as being out of use prior to 2015 are not shown in Table 17. However, where the local authority does not know when a newly identified site first became vacant or derelict then it will appear in the table. Similarly, when part of a site is brought back into use, that part is detailed in the 'B' data set (sites brought back into use), and the part not brought back into use remains in the survey 'A' data set (vacant and derelict sites).
A.4 Changes in Site Details. Changes in site details can also cause other difficulties in interpreting the data. The most notable are when two separate sites become joined by the inclusion of a further piece of vacant or derelict land, and alternatively when a single site has a central area brought back into use, such that the remaining disused area does not form a single contiguous site. The first of these scenarios is the most awkward from a statistical viewpoint, as data regarding previous use etc. for both sites are unlikely to be compatible. Where this happens, details from the largest contributing site are used to describe the new, compound site.
A.5 Changes in Historic Data, 2010-2015. As each local authority returned their 2016 surveys, work was also undertaken to improve the quality of the data supplied in the previous 2010 to 2015 returns. This process was done to allow for improved time series analysis. The key aspects of this work included the removal (back to 2010) of any sites identified by the local authority as being 'removed for definitional reasons' (and hence not suitable to have been included in the survey in the first place) as well as correcting historically any other revisions reported in 2016, in the main where the site size has changed, or where the site should have been included earlier than it was. Historical site-type changes are not included unless there is a specific requirement and explicit agreement is obtained for these changes to be made. The outcome of this work produced a revised national SVDLS data set for the years from 2010-2015. At a Scotland level, differences between the revised data and the previous version were at most 0.1% (14 hectares) for a particular year. The results of these datasets are given throughout the tables and time series analysis of this bulletin. The SVDLS itself has been running continuously since 1993. Historical data on the amount of derelict and urban vacant land in Scotland, for the years 1996 to 2009, is shown in Annex Table A. 1996 to 2004 data has remained completely unaltered since the 2004 survey publication. 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 & 2009 data were revised in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 & 2015 publications respectively. Thus care should be taken when comparing 1996-2009 data in Annex Table A to 2010-2016 data shown in this bulletin.
Annex Table A: Total Derelict and Urban Vacant Land by local authority area, 1996-2009 1,2,3
|Local Authority||Total Derelict and Urban Vacant Land Area (ha)|
|Argyll & Bute||64||55||46||46||45||45||46||46||46||28||81||60||40||34|
|Dumfries & Galloway||365||371||372||364||361||364||360||358||358||225||474||465||456||466|
|Edinburgh, City of||154||145||143||122||162||167||167||123||117||199||194||204||222||225|
|Na h-Eileanan Siar||16||13||13||11||11||11||11||11||12||11||11||11||11||11|
|Perth & Kinross||94||98||132||149||139||106||111||109||114||96||88||78||40||51|
1. Figures may not sum due to rounding.
2. See Annex Table E for details of council participation in different years.
3. Care should be taken when comparing this data to that published for the years 2010-2016 in the main part of this bulletin. The data above has not been amended to take account of land removed for definitional reasons or other previous errors reported in the 2016 survey return.
A.6 Land area eligible. Although local authorities are asked to note all derelict land for the survey (see Annex section A.11 regarding Highland Council), the recording of vacant land is restricted to all land located within any settlement as defined by the local authority in the latest council approved local plan. Consequently, the actual land area surveyed for vacant land is often considerably smaller than the total land area of each local authority, especially in the case of the more rural areas.
A.7 Settlements of population 2,000 and over. Local authorities were asked to survey for vacant land within all settlements defined in their latest council approved local plans. However, due to resource constraints on some local authorities (particularly those covering large rural areas), some were unable to do a full survey of every settlement for vacant land. All did however survey every settlement within their boundaries that had a population of 2,000 or more apart from Dumfries & Galloway, East Lothian, Highland and West Lothian whose data is carried over from 2015. Therefore, to ensure consistency in data presentation, the statistics presented on vacant land throughout this bulletin refer only to land located within settlements that have a population of at least 2,000 (according to the local plan). Some local authorities did carry out either a full or partial survey for vacant land in settlements of under 2,000 in population. All vacant sites located within settlements of fewer than 2,000 in population are shown separately from the rest of the bulletin in Annex Table B below.
Annex Table B: Vacant Land within Settlements of under 2,000 in population, 2016 1,2
|Local Authority||Area (ha)||No. of Sites|
|Edinburgh, City of||16||5|
|Loch Lomond and the Trossachs||1||1|
|Perth & Kinross||1||3|
|West Lothian 3||16||2|
1. Figures may not sum due to rounding.
2. Authorities included in this table are the only ones with any surveyed vacant land in small settlements.
3. Data for Highland and West Lothian is carried over from 2015.
All the local authorities shown in the above table have conducted either a full or partial survey for vacant land within settlements of under 2,000 in population. Any local authorities not shown in the above table either do not have any vacant land in settlements under 2,000 in population, or do not contain any settlements of under 2,000 in population according to local plans ( i.e. Aberdeen City).
It is estimated that approximately 19,618 hectares (excludes Loch Lomond) of land within settlements of under 2,000 in population were surveyed for vacant land in Scotland during 2016. From this area, local authorities reported a total of 328 hectares of vacant land across 93 sites. Aberdeenshire had the highest amount of reported land within settlements of under 2,000 in population, with 176 hectares across 7 sites - this includes a site at the former Edzell air base (170 hectares).
Of the 100 sites (363 hectares) of vacant land in settlements of under 2,000 in population reported in 2015, 9 sites (35.05 hectares) were brought back into productive use.
Annex Table C: Derelict Land as a percentage of total area by local authority area, 2016 1,2
|Local Authority||Total Derelict Land (ha)||Total Area (ha) 2||% of Local Authority Derelict|
|Argyll & Bute 3||37||690,867||0.0|
|Dumfries & Galloway 5||427||642,679||0.1|
|East Lothian 5||71||67,918||0.1|
|Edinburgh, City of||95||26,333||0.4|
|Loch Lomond & the Trossachs 3,4||25||186,340||0.0|
|Na h-Eileanan Siar||1||305,982||0.0|
|Perth & Kinross 3||19||528,558||0.0|
|West Dunbartonshire 3||157||15,876||1.0|
|West Lothian 5||341||42,774||0.8|
1. Figures may not sum due to rounding.
2. Land areas were derived from Standard Area Measurements produced by the Office for National Statistics in January 2011. Figures may not add exactly because of rounding. Source: https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/statistics-and-data/statistics/statistics-by-theme/population/population-estimates/mid-year-population-estimates/mid-2015-and-corrected-mid-2012-to-mid-2014/list-of-tables
3. From 2011 LLTNP took responsibility for surveying vacant and derelict land within the park boundaries. These sites are no longer recorded in Argyll & Bute, Perth & Kinross, Stirling and West Dunbartonshire local authority boundaries, and are separately identifiable as LLTNP from 2011. Prior to 2011, these sites were classified within the relevant local authority boundary.
4. Although the land area for LLTNP is separately identified it is also included within the land area for the relevant local authorities that overlap the park. Therefore the total land area for Scotland does not include this separately identified land area for LLTNP.
5. Data for Dumfries & Galloway, East Lothian, Highland and West Lothian is carried over from 2015.
A.8 Estimate of the proportion of local authority population living within a defined distance of a Derelict Site. Tables 8 and 9 in the publication show estimates by local authority of the percentage of their population living within various distances of derelict land. For Table 8 (using 2016 SVDLS data) a buffer zone based on the area of each derelict site was drawn around the grid co-ordinate points supplied for that site. This gives an estimated boundary for each site. Data should be treated with care as it is not the 'actual' site boundaries that are being used. Table 9 followed the same procedure with regard to 'estimating' site boundaries. The second part of Table 9 estimates the proportion of local authority population living in close proximity to land that has been derelict prior to 1991 or 2001. In this instance, only derelict sites which were either identified by local authorities as being derelict prior to 1991 or 2001 or, (where length of time derelict is unknown) where the first site inspection occurred prior to 1991 or 2001 are included.
To measure the proportion of each local authority population that lives within a certain distance of derelict land, a national data set was constructed that estimated the population of each property identified as likely to be residential in the National Records of Scotland ( NRS) Address Register for 2016. Average household size figures were calculated by dividing NRS census (2011) population by census household counts at the Census Output Area ( COA) level. All records in the 2016 Address Register that were identified as likely to be residential were assigned an estimated household size figure based on the average household size of the COA they fall within (their unit-postcodes being used to link with a COA from NRS's geographic index dataset by way of Royal Mail's 2011 Postcode Index File).
To ensure consistency with previously published population estimates, the latest available small-area estimates of population by NRS (in this case datazones for 2015) were used as a control factor on the calculated household size figures. For each property in the Address Register based dataset, the distance to the nearest estimated derelict site boundary was calculated, to highlight those properties within the defined distance of derelict land. Those properties' estimated populations were then aggregated up by datazone to give a proportion of each datazone's population (and hence each local authority's population) estimated to live within the defined distance of derelict land.
Overall it is estimated that 30.3% of the population of Scotland live within 500 metres of a derelict site in 2016. All the data published in Tables 8 and 9 on proximity will also be available at the datazone level on the Scottish Government Statistics website at http://statistics.gov.scot/. The website will be updated with these results at the next data update, following the publication of this bulletin.
A.9 Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation ( SIMD 2016) and Derelict/Urban Vacant land. Table 10 shows the amount of derelict and urban vacant land located within Scotland's 15% most deprived datazones. Those datazones are identified by way of the 2016 Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation Project (the results of which were published in August 2016). The SIMD 2016 project identifies small area concentrations of multiple deprivation across all of Scotland. It contains 38 indicators in seven domains: Current Income, Employment, Health, Education, Skills and Training, Geographic Access to Services, Housing and Crime. Sites in the SVDLS are identified as being located within Scotland's most deprived areas if their grid co-ordinate point ( i.e. the centre of the site) falls within a 15% most deprived datazone. Care should be taken with this data as there could be instances of some sites (especially the larger ones) crossing datazone boundaries, hence part of the site may be in a 15% most deprived datazone, whilst the other part could be outwith. Further information on the SIMD 2016 project can be found on the Scottish Government's web page at: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/SIMD/Overview
A.10 Definitions/Interpretations. The SVDLS guidelines clearly state the definitions for the recording of derelict and urban vacant land. Where difficulties are encountered, the guidelines have been modified to assist in the provision of uniform returns, but ultimately the survey relies on the consistent application of definitions between local authorities and through subsequent years. The data revision work for 2010-2015 (described in Annex Section A.4) was carried out to improve uniformity between local authority returns for those years. Some of the changes reported in Annex Table D (sites removed for 'definitional' reasons) come about following a reappraisal of the survey guidelines (prior to the 2006 survey). The introduction of GIS systems has also allowed planning officers to improve data quality, hence also leading to some of the changes in Annex Table D. Since the last survey, there were a total of 42 sites (165 hectares) naturalised or removed for definitional reasons. The largest site that has become naturalised is part of the former opencast coal site at Dunstonhill, Patna, (93 hectares) in East Ayrshire.
SVDLS guidance documents can be found at: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Planning/DataSupplierArea
Annex Table D: Sites naturalised or removed for definitional reasons, by local authority area, 2016 1,2
|Local Authority||Derelict Land||Urban Vacant Land||Total Derelict and Urban Vacant Land|
|Area (ha)||No. of Sites||Area (ha)||No. of Sites||Area (ha)||No. of Sites|
|Argyll & Bute||0||0||0||1||0||1|
|Perth & Kinross||4||3||1||1||4||4|
1. Figures may not sum due to rounding.
2. In previous publications this table has included sites that were split or amalgamated. In 2016 only sites that have become naturalised or removed for definitional reasons are shown.
A.11 Land surveyed by Highland Council. Due to the large area of land covered by Highland council, a partial survey was carried out in each year between 2002 and 2005 (inclusive). Only derelict and urban vacant sites within settlements containing a population of 2,000 or over and derelict sites within the Inner Moray Firth area were surveyed. In 2006, the (then) Scottish Executive let a contract to consultants to survey derelict sites in outlying parts of Highland council area. This was the first time since 1993 that derelict sites were surveyed in the outlying areas of Highland council. Overall it meant that a complete survey was carried out in Highland during 2006 (in terms of what was presented in the main part of the 2006 bulletin on derelict and urban vacant land). Highland council surveyed all settlements of over 2,000 in population for derelict and urban vacant land and the Inner Moray Firth area for derelict land, the consultants surveyed the remaining outer rural areas for derelict land. In 2007 the previous practice was resumed with Highland council surveying for land within settlements containing a population of 2,000 or over and derelict sites within the Inner Moray Firth area. The 2006 results of the consultants' work in most of the outer rural parts of Highland council were brought forward as the best possible estimate up to 2012. In 2013 Highland council submitted a survey based on visits made in preparation for the Inner Moray Firth Local Development Plan along with visits and knowledge from both Planning and Development and Housing and Property Services staff.
A.12 Database of Sites. A database of existing sites detailing their name, site code, type (vacant or derelict), size (in hectares) and location (by grid reference, local authority and whether or not the site is within a settlement or the countryside) is available on the Scottish Government's Planning Statistics web page at http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Planning/SVDLSSiteRegister. Copies can also be sent out by contacting Communities Analytical Services Division, telephone: 0131 244 0439 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
A.13 Land surveyed by Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority. In 2010 it was decided that Loch Lomond would take responsibility for surveying vacant and derelict land within the park's boundaries - this task had previously fallen to the local authorities that overlap the park. The authority was unable to complete a full survey of the park area for 2010, so the figures were included as part of the relevant local authorities as before. However, summary figures were published in Annex E of the 2010 SVDLS bulletin. For 2011 to 2016 LLTNP's figures have been presented in their own right in the main body of the bulletin.
Local authority participation
A.14 Participation of Local Authorities. It is important to remember throughout the interpretation of the figures reported in this bulletin that not all local authorities participate in the survey every year. There are two main impacts arising from this:
1. Comparisons between years must be made with care and only for
individual local authorities where suitable data exist.
2. Where a local authority has not provided data every year, the recorded change will be since the last survey, and will thus reflect several years' worth of change.
Non-participating councils are identified for each year since 1996 in Annex Table E.
Annex Table E: Local Authorities NOT participating in the survey, 1996-2016
|Argyll & Bute 4||x||x||x|
|Dumfries & Galloway||x||x||x|
|Edinburgh, City of||x|
|Loch Lomond & the Trossachs 4||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||x||3|
|Perth & Kinross 4|
|West Dunbartonshire 4|
1. Only the
data file was provided.
2. See Annex Section A.11.
3. In the 2010 SVDLS bulletin (Annex E) summary figures were published for LLTNP.
4. From 2011 LLTNP took responsibility for surveying vacant and derelict land within the park boundaries. These sites are no longer recorded in Argyll & Bute, Perth & Kinross, Stirling and West Dunbartonshire local authority boundaries, and are separately identifiable as LLTNP from 2011 onwards. Prior to 2011, these sites were classified within the relevant local authority boundary.
Email: Planning Statistics
Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit
The Scottish Government
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