Good news: funding secured for at least the next three years
UPDATE 15/09/16: The Mountaineering Council Of Scotland reports “that funding has been secured for a much valued weather forecasting service for mountaineers. The Mountain Weather Information Service, which was thought to have been under threat of closure at the end of this year, has gained Sportscotland funding for at least the next three years.”
In July 2016 SportScotland informed the Mountain Weather Information Service (MWIS) that it would be removing funding as of 31st December 2016.
MWIS is a highly trusted source of quality mountain weather safety information for Scotland, England and Wales. It’s a non-profit making service that’s been running for the past 13 years. It’s a popular service which gets several million hits a years and was deemed “overwhelmingly the forecast of choice” by a 2015 SportScotland survey.
Recently the Met Office started up a rival service – Mountain Weather Forecasts – but this splits Scotland into two rather crude areas compared to the MWIS’s five covered areas.
Geoff Monk, lead MWIS forecaster, posted the following on the MWIS website this week…
Mountain safety at risk as key Government funding is withdrawn from crucial mountain weather information service.
The most-used mountain weather service in the UK, the Mountain Weather Information Service (MWIS), is set to close after SportScotland, the Scottish Government sporting body, withdraws funding and walks away from a key mountain forecast collaboration project.
The safety of climbers and walkers in the mountains will be put at risk if funding is not continued and the Mountain Weather Information Service will cease producing forecasts as of the 31st December 2016.
Geoff Monk, lead forecaster at MWIS said:
“The funding withdrawal by SportScotland, following their previous decision to collaborate with MWIS (together with the Met Office), 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.”
A petition has been started on 38degrees to protest about the closure of the MWIS.
“This is a disappointing and misleading claim by Geoff Monk at the MWIS. Investment into MWIS continues until the end of this year and we have been involved in collaboration discussions for over a year with the Met Office and Geoff about building a resilient and development-focused mountain weather forecast provision for Scotland together.
“Sportscotland has been investing in mountain weather provision since 2007 and this investment has established bespoke mountain weather forecasts as a critical part of risk evaluation for those who want to participate in outdoor activities in the Scottish mountains.
“Lines of communications with MWIS have always been open and remain so. 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. This is precisely what we will deliver and we will ensure there is a continuity of this service.”
Keep watching the skies. Let’s see how this develops. Fingers crossed MWIS future can be secured.