VISITORS to this week’s Royal Highland Show are being urged to take public transport to avoid traffic chaos.
Tens of thousands are expected to flock to Scotland’s flagship agricultural event at Ingliston from Thursday to Sunday.
Chief Inspector Stevie Dolan called on visitors to the show and travellers to nearby Edinburgh Airport to plan ahead to avoid getting stuck in traffic or running late for a flight.
He said public transport was the hassle-free way to get to the showground – and reminded drivers to heed the new drink-drive limit.
Lothian Buses and Stagecoach will be running additional services to the Royal Highland Centre throughout the four-day event.
Ch Insp Dolan said: “The preferred method of travel is public transport. Lothian Buses are putting on a special service from St Andrew Square.
“We would recommend people travelling to the airport to use the trams. They don’t take you directly to the showground.”
Huge crowds of visitors and exhibitors flock to Ingliston – which has been the home of the Highland Show for more than half a century – every year.
Ch Insp Dolan said that extensive planning goes into the event to try to minimise disruption to people using the airport.
He added: “We have been working with the airport and attending planning meetings. We’ll do everything we possibly can to make sure people get into the airport on time and get their flights.”
A number of police officers will be at the site throughout the weekend to assist with traffic management duties and patrol the vast showground.
Ch Insp Dolan said: “We get a low number of crimes reported, but we have got to respond to that – missing people or missing children, people drinking, we need to make sure that licensing legislation is followed. We are working with the organisers to make sure that’s followed. ”
Police will also assist organisers with the evening show dances, which will be held at Ingliston on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
“They can attract about 2000 people at capacity,” said Ch Insp Dolan. “We’ll have officers to assist as required, getting people home safely.
“We have had numerous meetings with the organisers and there’s a robust stewarding plan in place.”
Anyone who is tempted to have a few drinks in the various bars in the showground should remember that the drink-drive limit has been lowered, he said.
He added: “Remember if you’re driving, do so safely. Be aware the following morning.”
The 175th agricultural show will feature a packed programme of exhibitors, entertainment, stalls and activities for all ages.
It attracted 178,000 visitors last year, with four in ten believed to come to the show to enjoy the food and drink on offer. Show manager David Jackson recently revealed that the team wanted to attract a bigger urban consumer audience by developing the food and drink offering, while “remaining true to our core values”.