A campaign to reduce traffic passing through Holyrood Park starts this month. The goal is to make drivers aware that the park's roads are for the sole use of non-commercial traffic. Coach drivers will also need a permit from April.
Historic Scotland, who is responsible for the 650 acre public park, has been working with Edinburgh City Council to provide more visible traffic signage on all routes in and around the park.
During February, drivers travelling into and through the Park will be stopped and made aware of its traffic regulations. Following this period of educational stops there will also be random spot checks by Lothian and Borders Police throughout the Park.
Drivers breaching the commercial vehicle restrictions or speed limit will be subject to a fixed £30 non-endorsable penalty notice under Section 75/76 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.
“Holyrood Park is a unique green space in the heart of the city," said Martin Gray, Historic Scotland’s Royal Parks Visitor Services Manager.
"The Park’s location makes it very accessible and popular to visitors, but developments around the park have resulted in increasing levels of through-traffic, commercial vehicle misuse and speeding. Large and heavy vehicles cause accelerated wearing of roads surfaces and damage kerbs and traffic islands. They also pose a risk to park users and wildlife who enjoy the use of the Park."
As a Royal Park, Holyrood is protected under the framework of The Parks Regulations Acts, 1872 to 1974, The Holyrood Park Regulations 1971 and subsequent amendments. These regulations stipulate speed limits and prohibit commercial vehicle access through the Park.
Coaches (vehicles designed to seat more than seven passengers - in addition to the driver) require the written permission of the Scottish Ministers to use Holyrood Park.
Coach drivers must obtain a permit which is valid for 12 calendar months, commencing on the 1st April until the 31st March which must be clearly displayed.
Inspector Nadine Aliane from Lothian and Borders Police added: “We know that by enforcing these traffic regulations, we are helping preserve an area of natural beauty that can be enjoyed by people across the city, as well as easing traffic congestion for people who live in the vicinity of the park.
“We understand that this enforcement can’t come in isolation, so we will undertake a series of educational events to make sure people are fully aware of the law and aren’t unnecessarily penalised.”
Councillor Gordon Mackenzie, Edinburgh’s Transport Convener, said: “I welcome this joint initiative and the benefits that it will bring not only Holyrood Park but also to the residents in the surrounding areas.”
- Standard Permit – This format relates to an individual coach and will include the vehicle registration number.
- Tour Guide (TG) Permit – This format will be issued on an individual basis to guides. These permits will include a passport size photo of the guide together with their TG number. A coach carrying a TG does not require a Standard Coach Permit.
- Coach Permits are only valid while coaches are carrying passengers. Empty coaches travelling through the Park will be classed as commercial vehicles and are liable to a fixed penalty notice if stopped by Lothian & Borders Police.
Permits only allow coaches access to the Queens Drive and High Road and do not allow access to the Low Road between Holyrood Park Road (Commonwealth Pool) and Old Church Lane (Duddingston Village).
Historic Scotland reserves the right to close the Park roads at any time for operational or other reasons.
The Coach Permit Scheme carries an administration charge (£10 per permit as of 1st April 2011 ) which will be determined by Historic Scotland and notified to new applicants, previous holders, coach companies and Tour Guides prior to April of the following year.
Educational groups travelling by coach and using facilities provided by Historic Scotland in Holyrood Park will continue to be provided with an exemption letter, by Historic Scotland, which will cover the coach or coaches involved on the date of their visit. For such visits, coach operators will not require a Standard Coach Permit.
A permit is not required by coaches using the roundabouts and road section within the Park located on the Queens Drive between the Horse Wynd entrance and Holyrood Park Gait entrance.
Coaches carrying disabled passengers and displaying a valid Blue Badge are also exempt from requiring a Permit.
Lothian & Borders Police are entitled to stop and check that vehicles are carrying valid permits. Drivers who do not have a valid permit or exemption letter, will be liable to a fixed penalty notice. Historic Scotland staff are entitled to check the permits of any stationary vehicle within the Park.
Applications for permits under the Scheme, including a cheque made payable to Historic Scotland and a passport sized photograph of guide if relevant, should be made to the:
Visitor Services Assistant
Historic Scotland Ranger Service
Holyrood Park Education Centre
1 Queen’s Drive
Tel: 0131 652 8150