The cash will go to help Scotland's volunteer mountain rescue teams

The cash will go to help Scotland's volunteer mountain rescue teams

The Scottish Government has increased its grant to mountain rescuers by four per cent.

The 27 mountain rescue teams north of the border will jointly receive £312,000 from the Holyrood Government, an rise of £12,000 on the previous year.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill announced the increase in its annual grant funding to the Mountain Rescue Committee of Scotland today during a visit to the Ochils Mountain Rescue Centre.

The Scottish Government has also agreed to provide a one-off grant of a further £12,000 towards communications equipment and will continue to provide £15,000 partnership funding towards a project manager post this coming year, making a total of £339,000.

Mr MacAskill told the gathering in Clackmannanshire: “Mountain Rescue Team volunteers went out more than 500 times last year to seek and rescue those in need of assistance, frequently in difficult mountainous terrain, poor weather conditions and often at night.

“I sincerely thank everyone associated with our mountain rescue teams for providing an outstanding emergency service to the communities in our mountains, hills and rural areas.

“Scottish mountain rescue teams represent the best traditions of community service and this extra funding will allow them to continue to deliver a first-class, front-line, voluntary service, free at the point of delivery, in the face of increasing demand and often in extremely challenging conditions.”

Scottish mountain rescue responded to 534 incidents in 2010 and committed 26,600 volunteer hours in responding to emergencies throughout Scotland.

A total of 659 people were helped of which 255 were injured and 45 died. 16 people died in mountaineering incidents, the lowest number for more than 30 years.

The number of non-mountaineering incidents rose to 194 compared to 172 in 2009; the 36 per cent annual rise is the highest ever reported.

Jonathan Hart, chair of the Mountain Rescue Committee of Scotland, said: “Scottish mountain rescue are very grateful for the Scottish Government’s continued financial support, announced today, which together with the additional funding for communication equipment and a project manager post, will considerably enhance our voluntary mountain rescue service provided to those who may be in need of assistance.

“Scottish mountain rescue are proud to provide a world-class voluntary search and rescue service 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.

“The significant number of more than 26,000 deployment hours in 2010 represents a huge commitment from our dedicated volunteers.

“I am deeply grateful to all of our emergency response partners throughout Scotland and to all Scottish mountain rescue teams that continue to provide a vital voluntary public service to assist the police with land-based search and rescue.”

Deputy Chief Constable Andy Cowie of Northern Constabulary, who is mountain rescue lead for the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland, said: “On behalf of all of the chief police officers in Scotland, we are delighted at the continued funding provided by the Scottish Government, which enables Scottish mountain rescue teams to provide a world class service.

“There is no doubt that without the bravery and commitment of these volunteers, the police in Scotland would find it very difficult, if not impossible, to fill the gap that would be created.

“We enjoy a very strong working relationship with individual teams across Scotland and the MRCofS, and hope with this continued Government funding that this partnership will be as productive and rewarding for our communities, for many years to come.”

In 2010-2011 the Scottish Government also provided £155,300, through sportscotland, to the Mountaineering Council of Scotland for a range of services supporting mountain enthusiasts, including Mountain Leader Training Scotland, the Mountain Weather Information Service and a mountain safety adviser.

This year the Scottish Government is also providing funding of £137,415 to the sportscotland Avalanche Information Service, based at Glenmore Lodge.

The cash from the Scottish administration is in addition to funding from the Westminster Treasury. After years of campaigning for relief from value added tax, the UK Government announced in August this year a grant of £200,000 to be distributed to all 75 mountain rescue teams in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

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