Progress on reducing the amount of vacant and derelict land in Scotland is welcome, but more radical action is needed to stop the blight and create opportunities for local communities, according to Scottish Greens land reform spokesperson Andy Wightman MSP.
The total amount of derelict and urban vacant land in Scotland decreased by 716 hectares (6%) in the past year but there are still over 11,000 hectares – equivalent to around two-thirds of the land area of Glasgow – which could be put to better use.
Mr Wightman said the transformation of vacant and derelict sites could be sped up by making them consistently liable for non-domestic rates and adopting a standard rating methodology. This could provide an incentive to bring sites back into productive use faster as well as raising money to invest in local communities.
Andy Wightman MSP said:
“There is progress on reducing vacant and derelict land but it’s happening too slowly to stop the blight on many local communities that have lived with long-term dereliction. It’s also missing an opportunity to develop vibrant local economies.
“Bringing all of this land into the non-domestic rates regime could be a catalyst for creating vibrant and sustainable communities that people want to live in. We need more radical action and welcome the Scottish Land Commission’s call for the Scottish Government to legislate to make Scotland’s land more productive, efficient and equitable”.