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Mountain rescue changes 'will not cost walkers money'

Posted 17 December 2010
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Those heading for the hills in their walking boots will not have to fork out extra cash for insurance if the RAF Mountain Rescue services are replaced by a commercial company, the chief executive of the Ramblers has said.

Tom Franklin has issued a call for clarification over government hints that a private contract may take over from the existing provision, with the Sea King helicopters currently in use set to be replaced with more modern aircraft.

However, he added, there is "no possibility" of mountain insurance being on the agenda as politicians know it is "a vote loser" and do not want to deter people from living healthy lifestyles.

Mr Franklin did express concern, however, over the possible loss of experience removing the RAF role in Mountain Rescue would bring about, calling this partnership between civilian volunteers and the military "the Big Society working at its best, as it has done for decades".

Among those flying Mountain Rescue missions in RAF helicopters is Prince William, who is based at RAF Valley on Anglesey.