MP Tommy Sheppard's report February 2021

From SHEPPARD, Tommy - my letter to HES:

Alex Paterson Chief Executive Historic Environment Scotland Longmore House Salisbury Place Edinburgh EH9 1SH

3rd February 2021

Dear Alex

Holyrood Park - Queen's Drive and Duddingston Low Road

As you will recall, I wrote to you in May last year during the previous lockdown asking you to extend the traffic-free periods in Holyrood Park. I welcomed your decision to add traffic-free Saturdays to the existing Sunday arrangements. I am asking now that you extend the weekend from the winter current end time to coincide with sunset so that people enjoying the Park while walking, wheeling and cycling can fully do so for the entirety of daylight hours, as the days start to get longer. As you know, the City of Edinburgh Council has undertaken a programme of making streets more pedestrian and cycle-friendly, even closing some roads to vehicles altogether. The aim of this is to make social distancing easier at a time when there are far lower levels of traffic and to promote active travel, with its obvious benefits. My understanding is that the Council, as the local transport authority, supports closing the Park entirely to traffic while we are dealing with the pandemic and this would be my preference too.

The Park is an exceptionally high-quality public amenity - a place of vast open spaces, peacefulness and rugged beauty. I hope that all public bodies would be doing everything within their power to ensure that our citizens have the maximum opportunity to enjoy it.

At present, the roads within the Park are reopened to traffic 3pm-3.45pm. I am asking that you extend the vehicle-free period each Saturday and Sunday so that it coincides with sunset each day to allow full enjoyment of the Park for the maximum possible time at weekends. If this is difficult from a personnel perspective then I would of course welcome any alternative arrangements that provided longer trafficfree periods, such as closing the Park to traffic for the entire weekend or indeed the entire week.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely Tommy Sheppard Member of Parliament for Edinburgh East