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The Independent Online
Compulsory rescue insurance for climbers and walkers in the British hills was ruled out at the weekend by an all-party committee of MPs which was unable to find a single authoritative body advocating such a move. Prompted by media coverage of a succession of accidents in the Highlands, the Scottish Affairs Committee conducted an inquiry into the ability of the volunteer rescue teams to cope and the cost to the taxpayer. Mountaineers lobbied hard against any change to the system and any restriction on the traditional freedoms of their sport, and even the Association of British Insurers warned of difficulties of enforcement and defining a mountain rescue.

The MPs said they "totally reject the idea". An attempt by Tory MP Bill Walker to keep open the possibility of insurance at a future date was rejected by six votes to one. More than half a million mountaineers visit the Highlands area in a year, pumping pounds 150m into the economy. The number of accidents has actually fallen pro rata.

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