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Background Info

Edinburgh Castle is operated by Historic Scotland on behalf of Scottish Ministers. From the flagpole on “David’s Tower”, sometimes referred to as the “Clock Tower” flies the Union Flag. David’s Tower is a “designated flag flying station” for the British army. The Crown Square is not.

The flying of Scotland’s flag over Scotland’s most popular tourist attraction would boost Scotland’s national image internationally. The “Scottish brand” is a worldwide recognised and distinctive symbol. It is a positive brand which is recognised for its popular and positive appeal worldwide.

We do not propose the removal of the Union Flag (we have no fundamental objection to it being flown at its current position), but rather we propose that Scotland’s national flag, one of the oldest national symbols in the world, is given its rightful premier position on Scotland’s foremost tourist attraction.

We have detailed drawings and specifications along with costings for erecting the proposed new flag pole in the position suggested.

Historic Scotland has guidance on flag flying at Edinburgh Castle, but like all guidance this is open to amendment and change. It is not an area of "policy" covered by statute. Other previously designated Flag Flying Stations of the British Army namely Torry Point (Aberdeen), Broughty Castle, Dumbarton Castle and Fort Matilda have since stopped being Flag Flying Stations, so it is not a designation set in stone, even if we were to accept, which we do not, that it has any legally binding basis with regards to Edinburgh Castle.

Further, as stated above, we contend that there is and can be no legal basis for the MoD/British Army enforcing designations they may choose to apply (such as the Designated Flag Flying Station designation) to property, buildings or sites for which they do not legally own. Ownership of Edinburgh Castle was passed to Scottish Ministers in the early 1990s.

Queen's regulations only apply to MoD Estates property and to members of the UK Armed Forces.

In its own guidance the Army names three specific points over which they have duties to raise and lower flags. These are David's Tower, The Half-moon Battery and the Guardroom at the new barracks.

As the Historic Scotland guidance, mirrored by MoD guidance indicates the Army is responsible raising and lowering the Union Flag in what it describes as the "superior position". The Army also has responsibility for the Governor's flag. Historic Scotland fly a Saltire in the "5th position" on the half moon battery - which would indicate clearly that the designation does not comprehensively cover the raising and lowering of all flags at the Castle.

I further understand that the Lord Lyon has no locus in this situation as his role is concerned with the design and use of crests and royal flags. The Saltire doesn’t fall within this category. 

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