Thousands of hectares of vacant and derelict land is to be transformed through a £50m programme as part of a “green recovery”.
The Scottish Government said the investment will help meet climate change targets and promote the health, wellbeing and resilience of communities.
Sites to benefit will see affordable housing, woodland and other green spaces created, or low-carbon commercial and industrial developments.
The investment follows recommendations from the Vacant and Derelict Land Taskforce, which was established in 2018 between the Scottish Land Commission and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa).
Communities secretary Aileen Campbell said: “This new £50m programme will help to transform Scotland’s vacant and derelict land as part of a green recovery that supports all communities.
“Scotland currently has more than 11,000 hectares of registered vacant and derelict land which offers significant potential to be brought back to positive use to the benefit of communities.
“By prioritising such sites, and protecting our existing natural capital, we will ensure that future infrastructure investment goes into areas where it is needed the most, revitalising communities, town centres, and promoting 20-minute neighbourhoods.
“The policies and proposals in the Climate Change Plan update set us on the right path to deliver our net-zero target by 2045. Importantly, it highlights the need for a place-based approach, with the involvement of communities and individuals, to get us there.”
The Vacant and Derelict Land Taskforce spent two years working to transform the existing approach to bringing such areas back into productive use.
Taskforce chairman Andrew Thin said: “Land is central to achieving Scotland’s targets for climate change, wellbeing and the economy.
“Scotland’s legacy of derelict land reaches into all communities, but these sites could provide much-needed green space, growing space, community facilities, housing or businesses.
“This fund demonstrates the Scottish Government commitment to bringing these sites back into use to deliver multiple benefits for both communities and the economy.
“Those communities that are most affected by derelict land are also those that have been hardest hit by Covid-19. Seeing urban land as a reusable resource, one that can be brought back into viable life to the betterment of local communities and the wider economy, will help to create a greener and fairer recovery for Scotland.”