Wed 4 Sep, 2019

The Scottish Government is going backwards on land reform Andy Wightman

The Scottish Government has abandoned its manifesto pledge to introduce compulsory sale orders to help councils deal with empty homes and regenerate vacant and derelict land, the housing minister confirmed today.

Speaking to the Scottish Parliament’s Local Government and Communities Committee, Kevin Stewart admitted a commitment to give councils more powers to force sales of empty buildings will not be met in this parliament.

He wrote to the committee during the summer to inform MSPs that plans for a compulsory sales order bill have been ditched in this parliamentary session.

At committee the minister also admitted there have only been nine compulsory purchase orders in three years.

Responding, Scottish Greens housing spokesperson Andy Wightman said:

“Empty homes are a serious issue in Scotland. People are crying out for affordable housing, yet we have over 100,000 empty and under-used second homes across the country.

“The least we could expect is the SNP meet its own manifesto pledges, especially since they consulted on it in 2015. Meanwhile, there has only been nine successful compulsory purchase orders in three years.

“The policy to give councils more powers to bring empty homes and vacant land into use could have had a major impact, so it is disappointing to see it pushed off the legislative schedule. The minister admitted it was not a priority.

“This decision follows the capitulation to vested interests from SNP MSPs in the Planning Bill, where they blocked much-needed reform of planning permission for short-term lets. The Scottish Government is going backwards on land reform.

“Everyone in Scotland deserves a secure, warm home. It is indefensible that so many lie empty, and it’s time the Scottish Government had the courage to do something about it.”

Get involved

More like this

SNP reforesting plan paid for by oil giant

Tue 15 Oct, 2019

The Scottish Government’s meagre attempts to reforest Scotland is being paid for by an oil giant, it has emerged.

On the same day as Nicola Sturgeon spoke at an SNP conference sponsored by BP, Shell tweeted that it is using Scotland’s public reforesting programme to offset its vast levels of pollution.

The multinational fossil fuel extractor confirmed it will fund public body Forestry and Land Scotland to generate carbon credits.

National investment bank must drive net zero efforts and empower local government

Fri 27 Sep, 2019

The new Scottish National Investment Bank must drive efforts to tackle the climate emergency and local government must have a stake, the Scottish Greens have said.

In the first debate on new laws to establish the institution, Scottish Green local government and communities spokesperson Andy Wightman called for the proposed law to have more vision, by placing its mission to fund a transition to net zero on the face of the bill.

He also called for councils to have a stake in the bank.

Reforestation rate is woefully inadequate

Thu 26 Sep, 2019

The Scottish Government is hailing a tree planting strategy that will will take 150 years to reach EU average.

Latest forestry stats show that only 18.7% of Scotland is forested, while the European average of tree cover is 40%.

Despite reforestation being essential in capturing carbon and tackling the Climate Emergency, the Scottish Government’s target is for 21% cover by 2032.