Vacant and Derelict Land

– in the Scottish Parliament on 9th September 2020.

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Photo of Willie Coffey Willie Coffey Scottish National Party

2. To ask the Scottish Government, in the light of the impact of vacant and derelict land on the environment, what action it is taking to tackle this. (S5O-04558)

Photo of Roseanna Cunningham Roseanna Cunningham Scottish National Party

We committed to consider the recommendations of the vacant and derelict land task force and to explore opportunities to invest in our local blue and green infrastructure, targeting problematic long-term vacant and derelict land.

We expect that national planning framework 4 will strengthen our policies in that area, building on experience and innovation from across Scotland. We will publish an update on NPF4 later this year and will lay a draft in the Parliament in 2021.

Photo of Willie Coffey Willie Coffey Scottish National Party

I thank the cabinet secretary for her helpful answer, most of which I heard.

She, like me, will be aware that many vacant and derelict land sites are found in urban settings. What can the Government do about that? Is that something that the vacant and derelict land task force, which was established in 2018, could look at more closely so that it can help with the problem?

Photo of Roseanna Cunningham Roseanna Cunningham Scottish National Party

Later this month, the Scottish Land Commission will publish the recommendations of the vacant and derelict land task force, which have been developed over a period of time and with extensive stakeholder input. We welcome the work of the task force and we will consider its report and recommendations in detail when we receive them. We will publish a response in due course and will continue to work with the Scottish Land Commission to tackle the legacy of vacant and derelict land in urban and rural areas across Scotland.

Photo of Claudia Beamish Claudia Beamish Labour

[

Inaudible.

]—the Government’s commitment to identify vacant and derelict sites for green infrastructure initiatives be targeted at those in depressed areas, given that research has shown that half of Scotland’s population in those communities live within 500m of such sites? I note what the cabinet secretary says about the task force, but I hope that the point I have raised will be taken into account.

Photo of Roseanna Cunningham Roseanna Cunningham Scottish National Party

I am not sure that I got all of that question. I think, from what I could hear, that Claudia Beamish is asking about those people who live nearest to vacant and derelict land sites. The 2019 survey on that issue identified that just four Scottish councils contain between them over 50 per cent of all recorded derelict and vacant land. We are conscious of the issues for the communities living closest to that land.

It is regrettable that, because of what has happened this year, we have not made the progress that might have been made. Some communities are beginning to look at the possibilities offered by the right to buy, and I would encourage all the communities that are considering that. I would also encourage any members who represent such communities to assist them in developing proposals for taking over local vacant and derelict land sites.