Team to feature in Parliamentary Adjournment Debate on ‘Mountain Rescue Services’ presented by Dr. Brian Iddon, MP for Bolton South East

On Saturday May 31st 2008, Dr. Brian Iddon, Member of Parliament for Bolton South East very kindly met with our Team Leader Garry Rhodes MBE and our Deputy Team Leader Geoff Seddon, to further research the current state of Bolton Mountain Rescue Team with respect to his role as a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Mountain Rescue and Search Group.

Over this recent Christmas recess Dr Brian Iddon, a respected friend of the team has drafted out an Adjournment Debate on ’Mountain Rescue Services’, which gives a comprehensive yet succinct overview of MR in England and Wales, and requests that Her Majestys Government consider granting support on many different levels to Mountain Rescue.

In his draft report, Dr. Brian Iddon MP basically uses the Bolton MRT as an example of an MRT he is very familiar with, to then introduce issues of a more regional and national flavour into the debate.

Dr. Brian Iddon in early Janauary 2009 kindly asked Garry Rhodes and Geoff Seddon to cast their expert eyes over his draft report, review and amend it as they thought necessary and this would then form the basis of the Adjournment Debate report. (following Dr. Brian Iddons final confirmation of the report contents).

This has been quite a task for Geoff Seddon in particular, who has spent many a long night this week, drafting and redrafting Dr. Brian Iddons initial report, alongside a great many hours on the telephone with Garry Rhodes our Team Leader.

The Adjournment Debate will take place over a 90 minute time frame, on Wednesday 21st January 2009, in the Westminster Hall Debating Chamber, between 09.30 and 11.00hrs, and all Members of Parliament have been requested to attend. (indeed our National Press Officer Andrew Simpson, also Team Leader of Rossendale and Pendle MRT, has issued a request to all members of Mountain Rescue Teams in England and Wales to lobby their MPs to attend this important – for us all in the MR community – debate).

A UK press release will be made of Dr. Brian Iddons Adjournment Debate report (of which as above, we have had a large input in guiding its content), so we should get some local press coverage of this debate on Mountain Rescue.

Dr. Brian Iddon MP in a letter to our team mentions that having checked and to the best of his research, there has been no previous Adjournment Debate on this subject, so this debate is likely to be a first in Westminster Hall.

With reference to this Adjournment Debate, our dear friend Stewart Hulse MBE (ex Team Leader of Langdale Ambleside MRT) and current member of the Fundraising Committee, Mountain Rescue England and Wales, has also supplied Dr. Brian Iddon MP with some valuable information on initiatives that our national body, that is Mountain Rescue England and Wales, is taking up with the Government regards assistance to Mountain Rescue. (VAT exemption on all goods and services for MRTs including fuel duty on our emergency vehicles).

As mentioned above, our National Press Officer Andy Simpson has issued a comprehensive MPs briefing sheet as part of the lobby process to get all MPs with Mountain Rescue teams operating in their constituences to attend this debate.

Westminster Hall debates run in parallel to the House of Commons and are used by MPs to raise issues and have to be responded to by a Minister. As Dr. Brian Iddons speech (report presentation) is likely to last 15 minutes, that means there is 30 minutes for other MPs to lend their comments to the debate.

This debate will be seen and heard via www.parliamentlive.tv which also has an archive feature so it does not have to be watched live. The debate will also be published in Hansard, the official report of Parliamentary proceedings, and will be found at www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200809/cmhansrd/cm090121/hallindx/90121-x.htm – but note that this link will not work until at least Wednesday afternoon, 21st January 2009.

In essence we are urging all MPs to press for urgent action by Her Majestys Government to allevaite the financial burdens placed on our team and all others in England and Wales, as our workloads all collectively increase.

The Bolton MRT is very honoured to be utilised by Dr. Brian Iddon MP in his Adjournment Debate on Mountain Rescue Services as an ’ example ’ MRT to illustrate the many issues facing Mountain Rescue in England and Wales now and in the immediate future.

The Bolton Mountain Rescue Team now extends an invitation to all the MPs within the areas we operate in to attend this Adjournment Debate, and given that we operate within lowland and upland areas on a very wide operational (emergency calll out taskings) remit, we would expect to see MPs present from Bolton, Wigan, Salford, Manchester, Trafford, Bury, Chorley, Darwen and Blackburn.

Please also refer to previous news articles within this website dated Saturday 31st May 2008, regards our TL and DTL meeting Dr. Brian Iddon MP, Sunday 22nd June 2008, regarding Government funding support for MRTs, and donations kindly granted to the team by Dr. Brian Iddon MP in news reports dated 16th July 2008 and 15th August 2008.

The team would like to extend a huge thanks for all the hard work to date that Dr. Brian Iddon MP and his office have put into researching and gathering the information for this Adjournment Debate., good luck from all your friends at Bolton MRT for a sucessful debate on Wednesday 21st January 2009.