As part of a “green recovery” from the Covid 19 pandemic, thousands of acres of unused and derelict land across Scotland will be converted into a £ 50 million initiative.
Investing in 11,000 hectares of unused land would help achieve the goals of climate change and foster community health, well-being and resilience, the Scottish government said.
The land would be used to construct affordable housing, parks and other green spaces, or commercial and industrial projects that are low-carbon.
The investment follows the recommendations of the Scottish Land Commission and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, initiated in 2018 by the Empty and Derelict Land Taskforce (Sepa).
The wasteland of Scotland: a blueprint for the transformation of brownfield locations
Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said, “As part of a green regeneration that supports all communities, this new £ 50 million program will help transform Scotland’s vacant and derelict land.”
Currently, more than 11,000 hectares of recorded vacant and abandoned land in Scotland offer considerable potential for constructive use – for the benefit of communities.
By prioritizing such property and preserving our current natural resources, we will ensure that potential investment in infrastructure is directed to areas where it is most needed to revitalize communities and town centers and promote neighbourhoods in 20 minutes.
In the Climate Action Plan Update, the policies and plans set us on the right track to meet our net zero target by 2045. Importantly, to get us there, it illustrates the need for a place-based approach of collective and individual engagement.
For two years, the Abandoned and Derelict Land Taskforce has worked to reform the current approach to restoring such areas to productive use.
Andrew Thin, Chair of the Taskforce, said, “Land is central to the achievement of Scotland’s climate change, well-being and economic objectives.”
The legacy of brownfield land in Scotland applies to all communities, but this land could provide much needed green space, arable land, community services, homes or enterprises.
This fund illustrates the Scottish Government’s dedication to getting these sites back into use to provide communities and the economy with several benefits.
The areas most affected by brownfields are also those most affected by Covid-19. It can help to deliver a greener and fairer recovery in Scotland by looking at urban land as a reusable resource that can be repurposed to support local communities and the broader economy.
More ambition has been called for by the Conservatives, criticising the delays of the SNP in carrying forward the proposals.
“Liz Smith, Scottish Conservative environmental spokeswoman, said, “Bringing vacant land back into use is vital not just for the reconstruction of our economy, but also for tackling the blight on communities that derelict properties can have.
It took the SNP two years, however, to get to the point of making this declaration, with the strategy introduced over the next five years. Here, we need to see more ambition.
“The Scottish Conservatives would make brownfield redevelopment an infrastructure priority, while we are 100 percent focused on our economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.”
John Finnie, Scottish Greens MSP, has called for neighbourhoods to have a say in what the £ 50 million is used for.
He said, “Transforming vacant and abandoned land could help to make our communities safer and healthier places and make way for vital community facilities and much needed housing, especially in rural areas.”
“It’s important that communities and local communities themselves have a direct say in how this money is spent.”