Information

Scottish Vacant And Derelict Land Survey 2021

The Scottish Vacant and Derelict Land Survey (SVDLS) is a data collection undertaken to establish the extent and state of vacant and derelict land in Scotland.

This document is part of a collection


1. Key Findings

  • The amount of derelict and urban vacant land in Scotland decreased by 1,809 hectares (16%) from 11,268 hectares in 2020 to 9,459 hectares in 2021. The net decrease was driven by large formerly derelict sites; two derelict airfields sites were brought back into use for agriculture and 11 derelict former opencast coal sites became naturalised.

Area of Derelict and Urban Vacant Land 2021

  • Of the 9,459 hectares of derelict and urban vacant land recorded in the 2021 survey 1,898 hectares (20%) were classified as urban vacant and 7,561 hectares (80%) were classified as derelict.
A stacked column chart showing the area of urban and vacant land, derelict sites excluding mineral sites and derelict mineral sites in the years 2015 to 2021. There is a gradual downward trend except for derelict mineral sites which shows a larger fall in 2021.

There has been a gradual downward trend in the area of derelict and urban vacant land since 2015.

More than half (53%) of derelict and urban vacant land in Scotland is located in five authorities.

North Lanarkshire has the largest area – 1,354 hectares, 14% of the Scotland total.

Glasgow City has the largest area of the City Authorities - 880 hectares, 9% of the Scotland total.

A doughnut chart showing that 53 percent of derelict and urban vacant land in 2021 is located in the top five local authorities. They are North Lanarkshire, North Ayrshire, Glasgow City, East Ayrshire, Dumfries and Galloway.

Previous uses of Derelict and Urban Vacant Land 2021

For those sites where the previous use is known, 24% of derelict and urban vacant land had been previously used for mineral activity (2,120 hectares), 22% for manufacturing (1,987 hectares) and a further 13% for defence (1,149 hectares).

For urban vacant land, where previous use is known, manufacturing (16%, 262 hectares) had the largest area.

For derelict land the largest area with a known use was for mineral activity (29%, 2,094 hectares).

A tree map showing the area of derelict and urban vacant land in 2021 by previous use. The largest areas were used for mineral activity, manufacturing and defence.

Development Potential 2021

7,316 hectares of derelict and urban vacant land, where the development potential was known, was reported to be developable, 77% of total area.

21% of all derelict and urban vacant land was considered developable in the short term - development within five years.

13% of all reported derelict and urban vacant land was considered uneconomic to develop and/or is viewed as suitable to reclaim for a ‘soft’ end use (i.e. non-built use).

A doughnut chart showing areas by development potential. The largest category is “developable medium term”, that is within five to ten years, and 13 percent of land is uneconomic to develop.

People’s Proximity to Derelict Land in 2021

  • Overall in Scotland 27% of the population were estimated to live within 500 metres of a derelict site, though there were differences across the country.
  • North Lanarkshire had the highest percentage with 74%. In Na h-Eileanan Siar none of the population lives within 500 metres of a derelict site.

Area of Derelict and Urban Vacant Land reclaimed or brought back into use 2021

966 hectares of land was reclaimed or brought back into use in 2021.

An additional 1,019 hectares were recorded as naturalised.

A stacked column chart showing the areas of previously derelict land and of previously urban vacant land reclaimed or brought back into use in the years 2015 to 2021. The amount of urban vacant land reclaimed or reused each year has been fairly steady ranging between 102 and  169 hectares, while the amount of derelict land was much greater in the years 2017 and 2021 due to large sites.

Uses and funding of land reclaimed or brought back into use 2021

The largest area of land was brought back into use for agriculture at 600 hectares (three sites including two airfields). The most sites were brought back into use for residential purposes (116 sites).

A tree map showing the area of land reclaimed or reused by new use. The largest area by far was used for agriculture, the next largest was residential use.

Where the source of funding was known, solely private sector funding was the source for the largest amount of Derelict and Urban Vacant Land brought back into use in 2021 at 113 hectares.

104 hectares of Derelict and Urban Vacant Land brought back into use in 2021 involved some form of public funding, either a full or partial contribution.

A doughnut chart showing areas of land reclaimed or reused by sources of funding. The largest area had unknown funding, but where the source was known, the largest area had private sector funding.

Since its inception in 2005/06, the Scottish Government’s Vacant and Derelict Land Fund has contributed (either fully or partially) to the reuse of 444 hectares (in total) of previously derelict and urban vacant land across Dundee City, Fife, Glasgow City, Highland, North Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire and South Lanarkshire.

A line chart showing the area of land for which the Scottish Government’s Vacant and Derelict Land Fund has contributed to reuse since 2005. In recent years the amount each year has been fairly steady and was 31 hectares in 2021, contributing to a total since 2005 of 444 hectares.

Availability of the publication

A copy of this publication and a set of tables in Excel format can be found on the Planning Statistics page of the Scottish Government Web site along with a dataset of current sites. View the Planning Statistics web page

Further information about the Scottish Vacant and Derelict Land Survey and how local authorities are guided to enter site information for this return can be found in the Survey Guidance. Download the Scottish Vacant and Derelict Land Survey Guidance Notes (PDF).

Information on the uses of the data and the revisions policy are available on our web pages.

View the Scottish Vacant and Derelict Land Survey Uses of the data web page

View the Scottish Vacant and Derelict Land Survey revisions policy web page

Contact

Email: planstats@gov.uk

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