Scotland

Row erupts over future of mountain weather forecasts

Creag Meagaidh Image copyright SAIS Creag Meagaidh
Image caption The Mountain Weather Information Service claims it could close if it loses funding

A row has erupted over the provision of mountain weather forecasts after a group claimed its funding was uncertain.

The Mountain Weather Information Service (MWIS) said it could close if it loses support from sportscotland.

The non-profit making forecasting service said this could put the safety of climbers and walkers at risk.

The Scottish government sporting body said it was committed to the provision of reliable, authoritative forecasts.

The MWIS claimed if funding was not continued it would stop producing forecasts at the end of this year.

But sportscotland said insisted the warning about safety was a "disappointing and misleading" .

It said investment in MWIS would continue until the end of this year and it had been involved in collaboration discussions for over a year with the Met Office and MWIS about building a "resilient and development-focused mountain weather forecast provision for Scotland".

"sportscotland's priority is to ensure there is a sustainable mountain forecast for Scotland through the provision of reliable, authoritative forecasts, which are relevant to outdoor activities and enable forecast users to make informed judgements about their chosen activities," it said in a statement.

"This is precisely what we will deliver and we will ensure there is a continuity of this service."

MWIS and sportscotland both said they were open to more discussions.

'Consistent service'

Geoff Monk, Galloway-based lead forecaster at MWIS said: "The funding withdrawal by sportscotland, following their previous decision to collaborate with MWIS, was a real shock and jeopardises the safety of those who use the mountains every day.

"All we want is for MWIS to continue to provide a consistent, quality service so that mountain users can enjoy the mountains safely, fully aware of what the weather will throw at them.

"MWIS has a stable, long-term future and the service will continue to be enhanced provided funding continues.

"We are asking sportscotland to come back to the negotiating table and commit to the continued funding of MWIS so its long-term future is secured."

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