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17 August 2022

New Strategic Plan for Holyrood Park

Long-term plan to be presented for consultation towards the end of 2022

Holyrood Park seen from the south. Arthur's Seat is on the right and is covered in yellow flora. In the background we see Leith, including Easter Road stadium and the Firth of Forth on a sunny day.

A long-term Plan for Holyrood Park will be ready for consultation towards the end of this year. Site managers, Historic Environment Scotland (HES), plan to consult with a wide range of stakeholders, users and interest groups in a first step to create the foundations for a new Strategic Plan for Holyrood Park, developing the best solution for all users and visitors to the iconic city centre landmark.

The Plan will examine how to balance all users' needs with other aspects affecting the Park – including climate change, conservation, heritage, biodiversity, health and safety, wellbeing and the Park’s infrastructure, including the roads network.

Management of vehicles in the Park will form part of wider work around the formulation of the new Plan and will take into consideration the wide range of views shared with HES over the past few years regarding traffic management, accessibility and active travel in and around the Park. This includes a public survey undertaken to gauge attitudes on vehicles in Holyrood Park.

The HES traffic management survey found the majority of respondents (63%) strongly agreed that closing the Park roads on both Saturdays and Sundays has made it a more pleasant place to spend time; while almost 60 per cent of respondents strongly agreed that expanded road closures have had a positive impact on the Park. Over half (57%) agreed that closing the roads at weekends also encouraged them to explore more of the Park. However, just over 24 per cent of respondents strongly agreed or agreed with the position that weekend road closures have had a negative impact on the area surrounding the Park.

A number of changes have been made to Park access and traffic arrangements in recent years following discussions with user groups. At present the Park roads are closed to traffic at weekends (Saturday and Sunday), with times varying though out the year (see website for details). The Park's High Road and Dunsapie Loch car Park are open to vehicles from Tuesday to Thursday, 9.30 – 15.00, with a one-way system in place for cyclists. Just under a quarter (23%) of survey respondents however, reported feeling that the High Road closure has made it harder for them to access the Park. Additionally, nearly two fifths of respondents (37%) use the park as a mode of travel to commute to another destination without stopping.

Martin Gray, Ranger and Visitor Services Manager, HES said: "Our survey results show a fairly balanced split between what Park users want to see around traffic management at the site. As responsible custodians of Holyrood Park, we are mindful of the needs of all users; including those where accessibility is crucial.

"Our next step in the process is putting the Strategic Plan in place and ascertaining the best way forward in sustainably managing the Park, including contributing to our overall targets for reducing emissions and improving health and wellbeing. We will also continue working with our partners such as City of Edinburgh Council, Park users' groups and local residents to explore any further changes to the Park’s road network and the impacts of such changes, while still maintaining our focus on climate change and our responsibilities to improve public access to the monuments in our care."

Ends

About Historic Environment Scotland (HES)

  • We are the lead public body charged with caring for, protecting and promoting the historic environment. We will lead on delivering Scotland’s first strategy for the historic environment, Our Place in Time.
  • Historic Scotland, Scran, Canmore, The National Collection of Aerial Photography (NCAP), The Engine Shed, Stirling Castle and Edinburgh Castle are sub-brands of HES.
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For further information, please contact:

Iona Matheson
Historic Environment Scotland Media Office
communications@hes.scot

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