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

4. A guide to figures presented in this publication

4.1 The following is a general guide to the figures presented in this publication including tables, figures, charts and annexes:

A dash (-) will represent zero.

An asterisk (*) will represent numbers between 0 and 0.5.

All references to 'Area' and 'Size' are measured in hectares.

All references to 'Sites' are numbers.

Some figures may not sum to total due to rounding.

From 2011 Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park took responsibility for surveying vacant and derelict land within the park boundaries. These sites are no longer recorded in Argyll and Bute, Perth and Kinross, Stirling and West Dunbartonshire. Prior to 2011 these sites were classified within the relevant Planning Authority boundary.

Figures do not include urban vacant sites in settlements with a population of less than 2,000. These are reported separately in Annex 2 below.

The latest deprivation information is derived from the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) 2020.

1 hectare = 10,000 square metres (100 metres x 100 metres).

The maximum playing area of an international-sized rugby union pitch is just over one hectare, 70 metres x 144 metres.

4.2 Survey response rates may differ from year to year and a number of key points should be noted. Details of which authorities this applies to are also shown in this workbook at Annex D.

4.3 For the 2020 survey eight authorities (Aberdeen City, Dundee City, East Ayrshire, Highland, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, Orkney Islands, West Dunbartonshire and West Lothian) were unable to complete a survey mainly due to COVID-19 pandemic related restrictions but also staffing issues and results have been rolled over from 2019. These return rates should be borne in mind when using and interpreting the figures for these authorities in the year 2020, when interpreting the Scotland total in 2020 and when comparing 2020 figures to other years.

4.4 For the 2021 survey two authorities (Dundee City and West Lothian) were unable to summit a return and results have been rolled over from 2019 and one authority (Glasgow City) returned a partial survey which recorded some sites as re-used, but did not add any new sites.

4.5 Highland did not update their survey since 2015 for the years 2016 to 2020 and the 2015 results were rolled forward. They did update their survey in 2021.

4.6 The response rates for any given year should be borne in mind when using and interpreting the figures for authorites not making a return and when interpreting Scotland totals.

4.7 Some Local Authorities reported impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the statistics for 2021. The following details were provided:

Dumfries and Galloway

There have been some problems due to Covid related restrictions and transport difficulties which resulted in a shorter time frame for site inspections to be carried out. As a result it has not been possible to inspect every site this year or to inspect every area for new sites. However the majority of sites have been inspected and some new sites identified.


A desktop review of all existing sites was carried out and site visits made to those where a possible or known change was identified. New sites were identified from looking at planning applications, the housing and employment land audits, consultation with Delivery team colleagues within planning, council property for sale on Aberdeenshire Council web site, news reports and drive by observation.

North Lanarkshire

The survey this year was carried out on a remote basis for the majority of sites with information on site condition being based upon Google Earth Imagery from July 2021 which gave a reasonable indication of whether any significant changes had occurred on individual sites. In addition development potential and planning status were accurately confirmed through detailed checks with the Council's UNIFORM system which provided accurate information relating to the development status of each site.

While some new sites might be missed by the Surveyor not being actively in the field, remote checks on Demolition Warrants, Aerial Imagery and Planning Decisions ensured that the data is accurate and robust.

Perth and Kinross

Desk based survey this year. Site visits will be considered next year.

South Ayrshire

In a departure from normal practice, the survey has been undertaken by desktop means only for 2021, eschewing site visits. This is largely due to sustained resourcing constraints within the planning department, in conjunction with considerable practicality and accessibility issues militating against efficient availability to staff of physical survey resources: e.g. corporate travel, print material, cameras etc. The latter issues are a hallmark of Covid working practices.

Notwithstanding the above, accurate survey completion was achievable via the method deployed - though this capacity itself relied upon more detailed physical knowledge of the sites from recent survey years. Relatedly, the primary shortcoming regarding this return is the increased difficulty in identifying new eligible sites and the dearth of opportunity for same via colleagues' own modified activities. In South Ayrshire's context, this difficulty is mitigated by the limited dereliction dynamics in the district.

West Dunbartonshire

Dates on or dates off are rounded to the end of the reporting year as it is unclear exactly when the sites came back into use or became vacant in the last 2 years. A number of sites which were noted to have started 19/20 at the last survey return may have come into use before March 2021.

4.8 These impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic should be borne in mind when using and interpreting the figures for these authorities in the year 2021, when comparing the 2021 figure to other years and when interpreting the Scotland total for 2021.

4.9. It is important to read any notes that accompany tables, charts and annexes.



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