An overview of the core policies of the BMC.
It is recognised that there is considerable scope for debate about precisely what constitutes a ‘policy’. The BMC carries out a very wide range of work for climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers, and amongst other things it has a role as an advisory body, an organiser of events, a provider of information and services and as a link between members and external organisations.
This document attempts to distinguish between overarching, national ‘policies‘ and the many and varied regional, issue-specific and operational matters with which the BMC is involved. Some policies have been updated or reworded, others (e.g. the ‘long walk-in’ policy) have been omitted on the basis that they are no longer relevant.
You should also read the BMC Mission Statement and Participation Statement.
1. Membership & Participation
The BMC aims to increase its membership by encouraging climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers to join the organisation. It is recognised that there is particular scope for encouraging more hill walkers and indoor climbers to join the BMC. Initiatives to promote participation in climbing and hill walking must take into account relevant environmental and safety factors.
2. Access, Conservation & Environment
a. Freedom to Climb and Walk.
Cliffs and mountains are part of our natural heritage. The BMC believes that access to cliffs and mountains in a responsible, sustainable manner, is a basic human right. As a general principle, access should be free of charge and with as little restriction as possible.
b. Cliff & Mountain Conservation.
Climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers have a responsibility to minimise their impact on the natural environment, to follow the Countryside Code, or if visiting Scotland, the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, and to leave as little trace as possible in their visits to the cliffs and mountains. The BMC will work to encourage all climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers to be aware of this responsibility.
The BMC is also committed to working with conservation bodies and land managers, to ensure climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers respect protected species and habitats and are aware of best practice for their protection.
c. Supporting Mountain Economies.
The BMC encourages climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers to support the economies of upland regions as much as possible e.g. by purchasing food and other provisions locally, and patronising local establishments such B&Bs, huts, bunk houses, restaurants and hostelries.
d. Land Ownership, Acquisition & Management.
The BMC’s policy is as follows: The first option will always be to secure access through other means such as informal or statutory agreements. Where this is not possible, access should be secured by encouraging an appropriate 3rd party (e.g. a local authority) to purchase or lease the site. As a final option the BMC will consider purchasing land itself to secure access.
In such circumstances the following factors should be taken into consideration:
management implications e.g. staff/volunteer time, liability, ongoing costs, long term management problems such as erosion or vandalism etc
significance of the site, including its popularity and the availability of alternative venues, and
scope for access problems being resolved in the future
The BMC also recognises that there are many schemes under which landowners and occupiers may receive payments for the providing and managing access. Where it is not possible for a banned site to be included in such a scheme and the above options have been explored, unsuccessfully, the BMC may consider a final option of paying for the management of the site (including the provision of access), either indirectly through a 3rd party or directly as an occupier. This should only be considered in the case of intractable problems at nationally significant sites. Any such agreement must not compromise the provision of free access to other sites. The BMC has a policy of dedicating its own land as access land under the CRoW Act 2000 wherever possible.
The BMC encourages and promotes safety and good practice in all aspects of climbing, hill walking and mountaineering.
4. Ethics, Style & Fixed Equipment
The BMC acknowledges that many forms of climbing, hill walking and mountaineering activities take place in the British Isles including traditional climbing using leader placed protection, sport climbing, scrambling and bouldering. The BMC believes that in any discussion or debate involving climbing style and ethics, the well-being of the crag and mountain environment must always be of paramount importance. Local or regional fixed equipment policies should be debated and agreed by climbers at meetings arranged by the BMC. The BMC Area Meeting structure provides the forum for such discussions. Policies should be agreed on a consensus basis and it is the responsibility of all climbers to help promote and respect any such policies.
5. Mountain Training
Mountain Leader Training England (MTE) is the BMC’s formal training division in England. The BMC and the Mountain Training bodies will ensure that mountain training activities are undertaken with due regard for the best interests and traditions of mountaineering, the mountain environment and the people who live or work in mountain regions.
6. Volunteer Leaders & Qualifications
The BMC does not require volunteer leaders in affiliated clubs, or other informal situations to hold leadership or instructional qualifications. Whilst the BMC recognises the value of mountain training courses and qualifications, we also recognise that genuine experience in climbing and mountaineering and mountain leadership gained over time through interaction with others of similar or greater experience, can be equally as valuable or relevant.
7. Young People
The BMC is committed to supporting and encouraging young people who are interested in climbing, hill walking and mountaineering. The BMC’s role is to act in an advisory capacity and to facilitate youth activities such as indoor competitions and appropriate outdoor activities. The BMC encourages the provision of outdoor youth training by competent agencies.
8. Competition Climbing
The BMC’s role in competition climbing is to oversee and control the running of competitions in England and Wales. The BMC is opposed to climbing competitions taking place on natural or quarried cliffs in England and Wales.
9. Equal Opportunities
The BMC encourages its members to adopt a positive approach to equal opportunities and the elimination of discrimination. The BMC values the support of all sections of the mountaineering community and welcomes the opportunity to assist all groups in its work to promote the interests of climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers. All BMC representatives and staff, individual members, affiliated clubs and other mountaineering bodies take a positive approach to equal opportunities and strive to eliminate discrimination. Whenever possible in BMC publications images are used to reflect a wide and diverse membership.
You may also want to see the Specialist Policies and the Management Regulations.
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