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Funding for mountain rescue teams
Scotland's mountain rescue teams are to receive substantial funding from the Scottish Government.
Minister for Community Safety Fergus Ewing today announced that £300,000 for 2008-09 is to be provided to the Mountain Rescue Committee of Scotland to support the dedicated teams of volunteers who participate in the various mountain rescue teams across Scotland.
Speaking ahead of addressing the UK Mountain and Cave Rescue conference tomorrow, Fergus Ewing said:
"Every year many thousands of Scots and visitors from throughout the world enjoy one of our greatest natural assets - our mountains.
"However, they can also be dangerous places and even expert climbers can find themselves in difficulties and needing help.
"As a former member of the mountain rescue service I am well aware of the vital role Scotland's mountain rescue teams play in aiding those who end up in difficulty.
"The Scottish Government is committed to supporting these dedicated, highly professional teams of volunteers and that is why we are giving them £300,000 to ensure that there is a continuing, effective resource for all those who use our hills and mountains."
The Mountain Rescue Committee of Scotland is the representative and coordinating body for mountain rescue services in Scotland.
The Scottish Government funding to the Mountain Rescue Committee of Scotland of £300,000 for 2008-09 is distributed to all of their affiliated voluntary rescue organisations. This involves every team/organisation receiving the same minimum amount of funding and the remainder distributed based on the number of call-outs each team/organisation dealt with over the preceding 5 year period. This approach is aimed at ensuring a fair and appropriate distribution of the funding.
The police have primary responsibility for all land-based search and rescue, and for this purpose they call on support from other agencies including the voluntary mountain rescue teams affiliated to the Mountain Rescue Committee of Scotland.
2008 is a particularly notable year in mountain rescue, as it is the 75th anniversary of the formation of the service in the British Isles. Scotland is taking a lead in events celebrating the anniversary by hosting the UK Mountain and Cave Rescue conference at the University of Stirling on September 5-7.
The Minister for Community Safety, Fergus Ewing, will be one of the principal guests speaking at the opening of the conference, together with Sir James Stirling, Grand Prior of the Order of St John.