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Building/site search for data centre opportunities: preliminary proposals for data centre options in Scotland


The aim of the report was to identify a range of potential sites in Scotland that may be suitable for the development of large data centres. In the context of this report, the term ‘data centre’ is defined as a large dedicated facility that houses ICT systems. The key requirements for a large data centre are described as the provision of power and data capacity, as well as accessibility, planning, security and availability of financial support mechanisms.


The methodology consisted of a questionnaire conducted in October 2012 involving around 200 participants, including unitary authorities, urban regeneration companies, the Scottish government, significant land owners, developers and property agents. The information returned in the questionnaires allowed 27 potential sites to be identified for further analysis, which were later confirmed by a second review in December 2012. These were divided into four categories: potential very large new build sites; potential large new build sites; existing very large buildings; and existing large buildings. A scoring matrix was then developed, which assessed the potential sites according to 11 factors: electrical supply; fibre; distance to amenity; ownership and legal conditions; planning status; pollution/hazards/chemicals/contamination; ground conditions; accessibility; physical security/site access; aircraft flight path; and financial benefits.


The review led to the identification of 11 ‘most favourable’ options, with seven further sites also considered as suitable for large data centres in Scotland.


The report recommends that the next stage is to take these 11 most favourable options through more detailed due diligence, and that before a site can be presented to the market as being suitable to host a large data centre, the site owners should prepare a range of information, including: site survey information, construction access and site accessibility, confirmation of electricity supply and resilience (for potential new build sites); and site environmental due diligence, confirmation of fibre/data connectivity, and any planning constraints (for existing buildings).

Author Hurley Palmer Flatt
Published Year 2013
Report Type Research
  • Sectors
    Digital markets and enabling technologies