Minister agrees to explore case for vacant land assessment

Patrick Harvie
Patrick Harvie

Land reform minister Aileen McLeod has agreed to investigate the options for bringing Scotland’s 11,000 hectares of vacant and derelict land into use for housebuilding.

The Scottish Greens had previously lodged amendments to the Land Reform Bill to include a requirement to bring the vacant and derelict land into the valuation system so it can be taxed, with the resulting revenue ring fenced for housebuilding. Analysis by the party had suggested that the move could yield around £300 million a year.

However during yesterday’s meeting of the rural affairs committee at Holyrood, Scottish Green MSP Patrick Harvie withdrew the amendment in light of the minister’s pledge to meet with Mr Harvie and Scottish Assessors to investigate the options for bringing such land into the valuation system.

Mr Harvie warned that he could still bring the amendment back at the final stage of the bill.

Andy Wightman, land reform spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, said: “This is a small but welcome step forward in our campaign to get derelict and vacant land into the valuation system so we can raise funds for housebuilding and tackle eyesores in our communities.”

He added: “We know that there is a housing crisis in Scotland, and over half of our most deprived communities are within 500 metres of vacant and derelict land. Scottish Greens will continue to keep this important issue on the agenda.”

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