Land Reuse Month, hosted by the Scottish Land Commission, will encourage local authorities to address the ‘how to’ of tackling the legacy of derelict land and preventing further sites and buildings from falling into long-term disrepair.
Scotland has almost 11,000 hectares of vacant and derelict urban land – an area roughly twice the size of the city of Dundee – and almost one-third of its 5.4 million population lives within 500 metres of a derelict site. These disused sites can cause significant harm to communities, ranging from negative impacts on mental and physical health to antisocial behaviour and safety concerns.
The Scottish Land Commission has said that the public sector can lead the way in identifying the potential of these sites to be transformed into assets that provide real benefit to local communities.
Local authority and other public sector employees are being invited to take part in four online seminars, on the first four Thursdays in March, attended by Scottish Government ministers, civil servants, environmental groups, community ownership specialists, land and planning experts, housing advisers and academics.
These will encourage delegates to understand the opportunities in transforming derelict land, to collaborate with communities and other cross-sector organisations and develop relevant strategies.
The first session will be on March 3 and will be hosted by Andrew Thin, Scottish Land Commission chairman.
The campaign builds on recommendations of the Vacant and Derelict Land Taskforce, created by the Scottish Land Commission and SEPA.
Màiri McAllan, Minister for Environment and Land Reform, said: “Land Reuse Month will provide valuable support to local authorities to unlock the potential in areas of unused land.
"The Scottish Government is determined to transform vacant and derelict land across the country to create new green infrastructure and provide environmental, social and economic opportunities for local communities.”
To find out more or register, visit www.landcommission.gov.scot/events.
Mr Thin said: “We don’t underestimate the scale of the task in bringing back into use the countless derelict sites which are a remnant of our industrial past, but they have the potential to be a huge national asset.
“By bringing together prominent stakeholders including local authorities, decision-makers, policy influencers, land and planning experts, and other enthusiastic parties during Land Reuse Month, we can drive real change to the way we approach land using it as an asset that can contribute to community wellbeing and net zero carbon objectives.
“We want participants to be inspired and to better understand the ingredients needed for successful land reuse. We are delighted at the calibre of speakers attending highlighting the importance of innovation and collaboration in tackling Scotland’s legacy of unloved spaces.”
The seminars will examine proactive estate management, managing fragmented land ownership, the role of land in community wealth building, leveraging finance and investment, explore best practice and inspiring examples from local authorities across Scotland, and raise awareness of the Vacant and Derelict Land Investment Programme.
The Economic Development Association Scotland (EDAS) will be partnering with the Commission to host week three, with the theme of ‘Activate your estate’ on Thurs 17 March.
Other Land Reuse Month participants include the Scottish Futures Trust, Green Action Trust, Development Trusts Association Scotland, and a wide selection of local authorities and NHS Trusts from across Scotland.