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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


6. Derelict and Urban Vacant Land: Location and Trends

6.1 In 2021 there were 9,459 hectares of derelict and urban vacant land, of which 80% (7,561 hectares) was classified as derelict. Five councils (North Lanarkshire, North Ayrshire, Glasgow, East Ayrshire and Dumfries and Galloway) together contain over 50% of all recorded derelict and urban vacant land.

Table 2 - Derelict and Urban Vacant Land by Planning Authority, 2021 [Note 20] [Note 24]
Derelict Land Urban Vacant Land total
Planning Authority Area Percentage of All Derelict Land Sites Area Percentage of All Urban Vacant Land Sites Area Percentage of All Vacant and Derelict Land Sites
Aberdeen City 13 * 15 81 4 45 94 1 60
Aberdeenshire 48 1 28 32 2 31 80 1 59
Angus 220 3 24 95 5 40 315 3 64
Argyll and Bute 36 * 8 13 1 23 49 1 31
Clackmannanshire 41 1 12 9 * 11 50 1 23
Dumfries and Galloway 731 10 59 25 1 7 756 8 66
Dundee City 14 * 17 177 9 168 191 2 185
East Ayrshire 825 11 65 44 2 57 869 9 122
East Dunbartonshire 43 1 8 34 2 14 77 1 22
East Lothian 76 1 28 9 1 9 86 1 37
East Renfrewshire 32 * 21 16 1 16 47 * 37
City of Edinburgh 80 1 19 51 3 32 131 1 51
Falkirk 190 3 45 67 4 28 258 3 73
Fife 598 8 156 116 6 51 714 8 207
Glasgow City 515 7 239 364 19 405 880 9 644
Highland 588 8 88 36 2 48 624 7 136
Inverclyde 54 1 41 98 5 50 153 2 91
Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park 6 * 6 1 * 2 7 * 8
Midlothian 86 1 31 16 1 13 102 1 44
Moray 7 * 6 7 * 10 14 * 16
Na h-Eileanan Siar - - 0 6 * 1 6 * 1
North Ayrshire 1,021 14 101 168 9 98 1,189 13 199
North Lanarkshire 1,204 16 398 151 8 102 1,354 14 500
Orkney Islands 32 * 1 . - - 32 * 1
Perth and Kinross 24 * 46 26 1 15 51 1 61
Renfrewshire 128 2 23 77 4 73 205 2 96
Scottish Borders 31 * 42 14 1 15 45 * 57
Shetland Islands 6 * 6 1 * 2 7 * 8
South Ayrshire 93 1 56 13 1 13 106 1 69
South Lanarkshire 273 4 93 82 4 89 355 4 182
Stirling 108 1 13 14 1 15 122 1 28
West Dunbartonshire 134 2 55 16 1 14 150 2 69
West Lothian 304 4 43 39 2 17 343 4 60
Scotland 7,561 100 1,793 1,898 100 1,514 9,459 100 3,307

General notes - at sections 3 and 4 apply.

Specific note 20 - Glasgow conducted a partial survey in 2021 and some sites were recorded as re-used but no new sites were added due to difficulty with resource for the survey. Dundee City and West Lothian have not updated their survey since 2019 so no new data is available on new site in 2021. Details of survey return rates back to 2015 are shown at Annex D.

Specific note 24 - six authorities reported various impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on their survey return in 2021. More details are provided at sections 3 and 4. These impacts 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.

6.2 3,398 sites were recorded in the 2021 survey. There are ten sites with an area over 100 hectares and together these account for more than a fifth (22%, 2,162 hectares) of all derelict and urban vacant land. All of those sites are derelict and the largest are Eastriggs former Ministry of Defence depot in Dumfries and Galloway (432 hectares), a former explosives factory in Ardeer, North Ayrshire (332 hectares) and the Port of Arderseir in Highland (302 hectares).

In addition, a 160-hectare site, the former airbase at Edzell, Aberdeenshire is not included in the above figures but is noted as a vacant site in a small settlement (Annex Table 2).

6.3 There are 18 hectares of urban vacant and derelict land located within Scotland’s National Parks with 39% (7 hectares) in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs (LLTNP) and 61% (11 hectares) in Cairngorms (CNP).

Table 3 - Derelict and Urban Vacant Land located within Scotland's National Parks, 2021
Derelict Land Urban Vacant Land total
National Park Area Percentage All Derelict Land Sites Area Percentage All Vacant Land Sites Area Percentage All Derelict and Vacant Land Sites
Cairngorms 8 55% 7 3 82% 4 11 61% 11
Loch Lomond and the Trossachs 6 45% 6 1 18% 2 7 39% 8
Total 14 100% 13 4 100% 6 18 100% 19

General notes - at sections 3 and 4 apply.

6.4 There are 5,369 hectares of derelict and urban vacant land located within Scotland’s Strategic Development Plan (SDP) areas.

Table 4 - Derelict and Urban Vacant Land located within Scotland's Strategic Development Plan Areas, 2021 [Note 20] [Note 24]
Derelict Land Urban Vacant Land total
Strategic Development Plan Area Area Percentage All Derelict Land in Strategic Plan Area Sites Area Percentage All Urban Vacant Land in Strategic Plan Area Sites Area Percentage All Derelict and Urban Vacant Land in Strategic Plan Area Sites
Aberdeen City & Shire 60 2% 42 113 8% 76 173 3% 118
Clydeplan 2,383 61% 878 838 56% 763 3,221 60% 1,641
SESplan 1,115 29% 276 239 16% 131 1,353 25% 407
TAYplan 318 8% 129 304 20% 229 622 12% 358
Total 3,875 100% 1,325 1,494 100% 1,199 5,369 100% 2,524

General notes - at sections 3 and 4 apply.

Specific note 20 - Glasgow conducted a partial survey in 2021 and some sites were recorded as re-used but no new sites were added due to difficulty with resource for the survey. Dundee City and West Lothian have not updated their survey since 2019 so no new data is available on new site in 2021. Details of survey return rates back to 2015 are shown at Annex D.

Specific note 24 – some authorities reported various impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on their survey return in 2021. More details are provided at sections 3 and 4. These impacts 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.

The SDP areas comprise:

  • Aberdeen City and Shire Strategic Development Plan Area (Aberdeen City and Shire):

    Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire local authority areas (except the part of Aberdeenshire that forms part of CNP).

  • Glasgow and the Clyde Valley Strategic Development Plan area (Clydeplan):

    East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, Glasgow City, Inverclyde, North Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, South Lanarkshire and West Dunbartonshire local authority areas (except the part of West Dunbartonshire that forms part of of Loch Lomond and The Trosschs National Park).

  • Edinburgh and South East Scotland Strategic Development Plan area (SESplan):

    City of Edinburgh, East Lothian, Midlothian, Scottish Borders, West Lothian and Fife (Kirkcaldy, Mid-Fife and Dunfermline local planning areas only) local authority areas.

  • Dundee, Perth, Angus and North Fife Strategic Development Plan area (TAYplan): Angus (except the part of Angus that forms part of Cairngorms National Park), Dundee City, Perth and Kinross (except the part of Perth and Kinross that forms part of Loch Lomond and The Trosschs National Park) and Fife (St. Andrews and North Fife local planning areas only) local authority areas.

6.5 There has been a net decrease of 1,809 hectares (16%) in Scotland’s total amount of derelict and urban vacant land, from 11,268 hectares in 2020 to 9,459 hectares in 2021. The decrease has been driven by the reclaiming and naturalisation some large formerly derelict sites. Note, however, that some councils were unable to conduct a full survey due to the impact of the Covid pandemic and have not added new sites.There was a more gradual downward trend from 2015 to 2019 showing a decrease of 15% over four years.

6.6 Most councils had decreases in levels of recorded derelict and urban vacant land since 2015, including Renfrewshire (down 78%), East Ayrshire (down 66%) and Highland (down 53%). Nine councils recorded more in 2021 than they did in 2015, including Aberdeen City with a 148% increase and Angus with a 92% increase.

6.7 Particular care should be taken when interpreting the data for 2020 as eight authorities were unable to complete a survey return mainly due to COVID-19 Pandemic related restrictions and results have been rolled over from 2019. This will affect the figures for each of these authorities, the Scotland total and any comparison with other years. More detailed information on this is presented in section 4 of the publication and in the notes accompanying tables, chart and annexes.

Table 5 - Total Derelict and Urban Vacant Land by Planning Authority, 2015-2021 [Note 4] [Note 5] [Note 20] [Note 22] [Note 23] [Note 24]
Planning Authority 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 Percentage Change 2015-2021
Aberdeen City 38 38 37 44 55 55 94 148%
Aberdeenshire 71 79 80 79 76 73 80 12%
Angus 164 142 144 281 321 314 315 92%
Argyll and Bute 59 58 58 58 56 50 49 -18%
Clackmannanshire 32 74 64 57 52 50 50 56%
Dumfries and Galloway 483 485 340 340 343 766 756 57%
Dundee City 215 204 182 184 191 191 191 -11%
East Ayrshire 2,544 2,460 2,404 1,813 1,804 1,804 869 -66%
East Dunbartonshire 71 77 76 69 68 62 77 9%
East Lothian 91 95 92 88 88 86 86 -5%
East Renfrewshire 55 55 51 52 50 47 47 -14%
City of Edinburgh 184 168 178 165 151 143 131 -29%
Falkirk 200 246 286 277 258 255 258 29%
Fife 744 741 743 740 721 725 714 -4%
Glasgow City 1,148 1,114 1,072 1,008 957 940 880 -23%
Highland 1,342 1,342 1,342 1,342 1,342 1,342 624 -53%
Inverclyde 163 160 156 155 151 156 153 -7%
Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park 27 27 27 7 7 7 7 -75%
Midlothian 203 195 125 124 124 122 102 -50%
Moray 15 15 15 16 15 15 14 -4%
Na h-Eileanan Siar 10 9 9 8 8 8 6 -41%
North Ayrshire 1,346 1,341 1,346 1,279 1,187 1,195 1,189 -12%
North Lanarkshire 1,278 1,243 1,298 1,361 1,387 1,371 1,354 6%
Orkney Islands 39 39 39 32 32 32 32 -18%
Perth and Kinross 73 65 59 59 60 53 51 -30%
Renfrewshire 913 860 272 255 231 223 205 -78%
Scottish Borders 71 71 66 63 63 51 45 -37%
Shetland Islands 6 6 7 7 7 7 7 14%
South Ayrshire 107 106 105 118 128 127 106 -1%
South Lanarkshire 462 411 422 390 377 367 355 -23%
Stirling 155 143 140 136 136 123 122 -21%
West Dunbartonshire 182 171 165 168 163 163 150 -18%
West Lothian 420 420 420 341 343 343 343 -18%
Scotland 12,909 12,659 11,818 11,116 10,953 11,268 9,459 -27%

General notes - at sections 3 and 4 apply.

Specific note 4 - during 2021, historical data for the years 2015-2020 were updated as a result of improved information. This included removing sites that should not have been included in previous years, adding sites that should have been included earlier and making any required changes to site size. Further information on this process is available in the Annex along with un-amended historical data for the survey years 2000-2014.

Specific note 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.

Specific note 20 - Glasgow conducted a partial survey in 2021 and some sites were recorded as re-used but no new sites were added due to difficulty with resource for the survey. Dundee City and West Lothian have not updated their survey since 2019 so no new data is available on new site in 2021. Details of survey return rates back to 2015 are shown at Annex D.

Specific note 22 - most of the decrease in derelict land in 2021 has been due to the restoration and naturalisation of 11 former coal mining sites in East Ayrshire accounting for 909 hectares. Also two large airfields in Highland have been reclaimed for agriculture and together account for 599 hectares.

Specific note 23 - For the 2020 survey eight authorities (Aberdeen City, Dundee City, East Ayrshire, Highland, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, Ornkey 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 the 2020 figures to other years.

Specific note 24 - six authorities reported various impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on their survey return in 2021. More details are provided at sections 3 and 4. These impacts 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.

Contact

Email: planstats@gov.uk

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