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Holyrood Park traffic initiative

1 February 2011

Historic Scotland, the City of Edinburgh Council and Lothian and Borders Police have joined forces to raise drivers’ awareness and reinforce measures to protect and preserve the natural beauty of Holyrood Park.

Historic Scotland has been working closely with Edinburgh City Council to provide more visible traffic signage on all routes into and through the Park to make drivers aware that these roads are for the sole use of non-commercial traffic and taxis, without advertising, carrying passengers.

During February, drivers travelling into and through the Park will be stopped and made aware of its traffic regulations.

Following the 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.

Martin Gray, Historic Scotland’s Royal Parks Visitor Services Manager said:

“Holyrood Park is a unique green space in the heart of the city. 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.  

“We are very grateful to the City of Edinburgh Council and Lothian and Borders Police for their assistance in helping us address these issues, which will help protect and preserve Holyrood Park for the enjoyment of present and future generations of

Inspector Nadine Aliane from Lothian and Borders Police added: ”Lothian and Borders Police is committed to working with local communities and partner agencies to improve quality of life throughout Edinburgh.

“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.”

For information:

  • Holyrood Park and its roads are cared for by Historic Scotland. The 650 acre site is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and Site of Special Scientific Interest. The Park has its own Ranger Service whose roles include monitoring and protection of the Park environs and promotion of its unique landscape, history and bio-diversity through close interaction with park users, schools, and other special interest groups.  

  • 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.

  • Coach Permits are issued in two formats:

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 requires a considerable amount of administration and therefore will carry an administration charge (£12.50 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


What is a commercial vehicle?
A commercial vehicle is any vehicle adapted for trade or business. Any vehicle carrying more than seven passengers in addition to the driver is deemed to be a commercial vehicle.

Can taxis go through the park?
Taxis are allowed to travel through the park only if they are carrying passengers and do not carry advertising.

Who is responsible for the upkeep of the roads throughout Holyrood Park?
Hollyrood Park is in the ownership of Scottish Ministers and managed through Historic Scotland.  Historic Scotland looks after the Park and the road infrastructure.

Notes for editors

  • Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government charged with safeguarding the nation’s historic environment. The agency is fully accountable to Scottish Ministers and through them to the Scottish Parliament.


Mike Pinkerton
Media Officer
Edinburgh City Council
0131 529 6471

For further information

Jennifer Johnston Watt
Communications and Media Officer
Communications and Media
0131 668 8070 or 07827 956 866