5 Derelict Land: Levels and Location
5.1 This section focuses exclusively on derelict land, its levels over the past seven years and its location within Scotland. Derelict land is land which has been so damaged by development, that it is unsuitable for development for beneficial use without rehabilitation. The land must currently not be used for the purpose for which it is held or a use acceptable in the local plan. Land also qualifies as derelict if it has an un-remedied previous use which could constrain future development.
5.2 Table 5 shows the area of recorded derelict land in the years 2011-2017, split by local authority. It should be noted that a small number of councils did not participate in every survey between 2011 and 2017.
5.3 Overall, the total amount of derelict land has shown a net increase of 734 hectares (8%), from 8,841 hectares in 2011 to 9,574 hectares in 2017. Some councils have seen large percentage decreases (Renfrewshire, down 78%; Perth & Kinross, down 60%; Midlothian, down 59%) whereas others have seen large increases in levels of derelict land. The larger percentage changes for some councils (for example Argyll & Bute, Clackmannanshire and Moray) are due to there only being a small base of recorded land in 2011. East Ayrshire has more than eight times the amount of derelict land in 2017 compared to 2011. This large increase is due to the addition of 2,217 hectares of land that became derelict due to the liquidation of Scottish Coal and ATH Resources in 2013 causing several surface coal mines to fall out of use. One larger site added in the latest year is a site for a proposed potato processing factory in Airdrie, North Lanarkshire (43 hectares). Excluding derelict mineral sites, the total amount of derelict land in Scotland has shown a net decrease of 13% (917 hectares) since 2011 (from 6,933 hectares in 2011 to 6,016 hectares in 2017).
5.4 The five councils recording the largest amount of derelict land are East Ayrshire (2,324 ha), Highland (1,276 ha), North Ayrshire (1,144 ha), North Lanarkshire (1,138 ha) and Glasgow City (621 ha). Together these councils account for 68% of all derelict land recorded in 2017. East Ayrshire on its own accounts for nearly a quarter of all derelict land recorded in 2017.
5.5 Out of these five councils East Ayrshire had the biggest increase in its amount of derelict land from 277 hectares in 2011 to 2,324 hectares in 2017 (more than an eight fold increase). North Ayrshire increased only slightly from 1,127 hectares in 2011 to 1,144 hectares in 2017 (up 1%). Glasgow City and Highland both had decreases of 7%, from 669 to 621 and from 1,373 to 1,276 respectively. North Lanarkshire also had a decrease from 1,165 hectares to 1,138 hectares (down 2%).
Table 5: Total Derelict Land by local authority area, 2011-2017 [1,2,3]
|Local Authority||Total Derelict land Area (ha)||% Change 2011-2017 |
|Argyll & Bute ||8||8||9||8||37||37||37||350%|
|Dumfries & Galloway||477||483||483||482||455||457||301||-37%|
|Edinburgh, City of||126||114||113||111||97||96||91||-28%|
|Loch Lomond & the Trossachs ||28||26||26||25||25||25||25||n/a|
|Na h-Eileanan Siar||1||1||1||1||1||1||1||-7%|
|Perth & Kinross ||41||40||38||28||28||23||16||-60%|
|West Dunbartonshire ||174||172||168||168||167||157||149||-15%|
|West Lothian ||416||416||416||412||341||341||341||-18%|
1. Figures may not sum due to rounding.
2. See Annex Table E for details of council participation in different years.
3. During 2017, historical data for the years 2011-2016 were revised to remove sites that had been taken out of the survey for definitional reasons and to correct any revisions to the data highlighted in the 2017 survey returns. Further information on this process is available in the Annex along with un-amended historical data for the survey years of 1996-2010.
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. Prior to 2011, these sites were classified within the relevant local authority boundary.
5. Previous SVDLS bulletins have used different base years for percentage change and so these percentages should not be compared with those in previous bulletins.
6. 2017 data for Highland and West Lothian is carried over from 2015.
5.6 Table 6 shows the number, location and average size of derelict sites by local authority in 2017. Just over three quarters of all Scotland’s derelict sites are found within a settlement; the remaining quarter is within the countryside. While the majority of derelict sites are located within settlements there is a larger area of derelict land outside of settlements (6,166 hectares of derelict land, 64% of the total area, is in the countryside).
5.7 The average size of a derelict site in Scotland is 4.9 hectares. The average size of a countryside site is 13.7 hectares, with the average size of a settlement-based derelict site notably smaller at 2.3 hectares. Averages have been calculated from the sizes of each reported separate parcel of land. The 507 hectare former surface coal mine near Glenbuck, East Ayrshire increases the average size of countryside sites from 12.6 to 13.7 hectares, an increase of 9%.
5.8 North Lanarkshire has the largest number of settlement-based derelict sites with 311 recorded in 2017. North Lanarkshire also has the largest amount of derelict land recorded within settlements in 2017 (788 hectares). This accounts for almost a quarter of all settlement-based derelict land.
5.9 North Lanarkshire also has the largest number of countryside-based derelict sites with 92 (350 hectares) recorded in 2017. However, the largest amount of derelict land in the countryside is in East Ayrshire (2,257 hectares) and Highland (1,102 hectares) which collectively account for more than half of all countryside-based derelict land. This is due mainly to the presence of some very large derelict sites including the former surface coal mines (collectively 2,048 hectares) in East Ayrshire and the Fearn/Fendom Airfields (collectively 681 hectares) and Ardersier Port (255 hectares) in Highland.
Table 6: Location of Derelict Sites by local authority and average site size, 2017 [1,2]
|Local Authority||In a Settlement||In the Countryside||All Derelict Land|
|Area (ha)||% of LA's derelict land in settlements (by Area)||No of Sites||Average Site Size||% of Scottish derelict land in settlements (by Area) ||Area (ha)||% of LA's derelict land in the Countryside (by Area)||No of Sites||Average Site Size||% of Scottish derelict land in the Countryside (by Area) ||Area (ha)||No of Sites||Average Site Size|
|Argyll & Bute ||8||21||8||1.0||*||29||79||3||9.8||*||37||11||3.4|
|Dumfries & Galloway||78||26||38||2.0||2||224||74||8||28.0||4||301||46||6.5|
|Edinburgh, City of||89||98||24||3.7||3||2||2||1||1.8||*||91||25||3.6|
|Loch Lomond & the Trossachs ||25||100||9||2.8||1||-||-||-||-||-||25||9||2.8|
|Na h-Eileanan Siar||1||100||3||0.4||*||-||-||-||-||-||1||3||0.4|
|Perth & Kinross ||9||57||14||0.7||*||7||43||6||1.2||*||16||20||0.8|
|West Dunbartonshire ||149||100||53||2.8||4||-||-||-||-||-||149||53||2.8|
|West Lothian ||103||30||17||6.1||3||238||70||27||8.8||4||341||44||7.7|
1. Figures may not sum due to rounding.
2. Settlements as defined by Local Authorities in their latest council approved local plans (see Annex Section A.6).
3. As a percentage of the total amount of derelict land that is within a settlement in Scotland.
4. As a percentage of the total amount of derelict land that is within the countryside in Scotland.
5. 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.
6. Data for Highland and West Lothian is carried over from 2015.
5.10 Chart 2 shows the ten councils with the largest amount of derelict land in relation to the size of their administrative area. The figures for all councils can be found in Table C in the annex. Approximately 3.6% of Glasgow City’s total land area is derelict. The comparative figures for the next highest councils are 2.4% in North Lanarkshire, 1.8% in East Ayrshire and 1.3% in North Ayrshire. Across Scotland as a whole 0.1% of all land is derelict.
Chart 2: Local Authorities with the largest amount of Derelict Land as a percentage of local authority administrative area, 2017 1
1. Data for West Lothian is carried forward from 2015.
5.11 Table 7 shows the characteristics of derelict land in Scotland during 2017. Of the 1,953 derelict sites recorded in the 2017 survey 1,583 (81%) were given a characteristic. The corresponding area of derelict land assigned characteristics is 8,177 of 9,574 hectares (85%).
5.12 The most common derelict characteristic in terms of the number of sites is the remains of buildings, with 648 sites recorded as having this as a single characteristic. However, this only accounts for 10% of the total area of characterized derelict land. Of the derelict land classified by characteristics 32% (2,591 hectares and 118 sites) is recorded as having a mixture of possible left over chemicals/substances and rubble, stone deposits and other material. A further 19% (1,594 hectares and 183 sites) is characterised by building remains and possible left over chemicals/substances. It should be noted that there is potential for overlap between these categories, so the results should be treated with some caution.
Table 7: Derelict Land characteristics, 2017 [1,2,3]
|Derelict Characteristics||Derelict Land|
|Area (ha)||% of Derelict Land (by Area)||No. of Sites|
|Possible left over chemicals/substances||940||11||254|
|Abandoned physical material (stone deposits, rubble etc)||492||6||160|
|Building remains and possible left over chemicals/substances||1,594||19||183|
|Building remains and abandoned physical material (stone deposits, rubble etc)||417||5||146|
|Possible left over chemicals/substances and rubble, stone deposits and other material||2,591||32||118|
|Building remains, possible left over chemicals/substances and abandoned physical material (stone deposits, rubble etc)||1,320||16||74|
|Percentage of categorised sites||100|
1. Figures may not sum due to rounding.
2. Unknown values are excluded from the calculation of percentages.
3. 3,587 hectares of derelict land had previously been used for mineral activity with 62% of this area with derelict characteristics recorded as possible left over chemicals/substances and rubble, stone deposits and other material.
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