The BMC recently spent two days in the House of Commons, raising the profile of the BMC and mountaineering amongst central government, MPs, DEFRA and Natural England.
A programme of meetings was set up by John Mann MP for the BMC who were represented by Dave Turnbull and Cath Flitcroft. The first of these was a meeting with the Nepalese Ambassador where the new permit system for climbing peaks, the requirement for liaison officers, and the issue of rubbish left in the high mountains were all discussed. The Ambassador was also invited to the 2009 Annual Dinner at Plas Y Brenin and invited to submit an article to Summit magazine
A meeting with the Sports Minister, Gerry Sutcliffe was also attended. The BMC explained the structure of the sport in the UK (clubs, walls, outdoor centres etc) and stressed the stature of British climbing at an international level and it’s potential, given greater support from Sport England. The Minister was very supportive and we hope to meet with him again soon.
The BMC also improved their knowledge of how best to make representations and give formal evidence when Bills are going through Parliament. We met with the Clerk of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee who oversees this committee (which is currently taking evidence on the coastal access provisions within the Marine Bill), who provided us with some useful information.
Two committee hearings, made up of MPs and Peers, on the Marine Bill were also attended where oral evidence was given on the coastal access provisions- both the Ramblers Association and the Countryside Land Association gave evidence. Similarly, the BMC attended Prime Minister's question time in the Commons and a further session the following day during which John Mann raised a question related to the BMC and coastal access. See link for Hansard transcript of John Mann Q&A (at the bottom of the page).
Overall, the meetings were successful and the BMC continue to lobby on a number of issues affecting all climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers.
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