Adventure licensing to stay
A statutory licensing scheme for adventure activities will remain in place in Scotland.
The Scottish Government’s decision follows a consultation in Scotland in light of the UK Government's plan to replace the statutory Adventure Activities Licensing Authority (AALA) with a new voluntary code of practice.
The AALA was established in 1995 to licence caving, climbing, trekking and watersports operators after four young people lost their lives canoeing at Lyme Bay in Dorset.
Adventure activities in Scotland contribute around £500 million every year to the Scottish economy.
Sport Minister Shona Robison said:
“We need a robust and proportionate safety system for adventure activities in Scotland which meets the needs of Scottish providers and users. I welcome the responses we received to the consultation and I have now been able to fully consider the views that have been expressed.
“It is clear that that there is a strong view, particularly from those in education and local government, of the need for a statutory scheme to provide the reassurance that parents require and more broadly to users, their families and the wider public. However, I have also noted the widely supported view that sports clubs should continue to be exempted from licensing to ensure there is no adverse impact on participation levels.
“I have now written to the UK Government asking for the statutory framework for AALA to be retained for Scotland.”
Nigel Marshall, Chair of the Scottish Advisory Panel for Outdoor Education (SAPOE), said:
“The Scottish Advisory Panel for Outdoor Education (SAPOE) welcomes the findings of the Scottish Governments Consultation on the removal of Adventure Activities Licensing as proposed by the UK Government.
“We feel that Scottish Government has recognised the need to retain a robust, credible and proportionate method of reassuring local authorities, youth organisations and most importantly parents that providers of outdoor activities are safe. SAPOE looks forward to providing continuing support to Scottish Government in the further development of a licensing scheme that suits the needs of the Scottish People'.
John Armstrong of the Scottish Adventure Activity Forum (SAAF) said “SAAF recognises the good work carried out by the Scottish Government in relation to finding a replacement for AALA in Scotland. We welcome the Minister’s announcement which will give continuing reassurance to parents and those with a responsibility for the safety of young people. However, we believe further work is essential to ensure the development of a more comprehensive scheme which covers a broader range of adventurous activities and makes accreditation available to any outdoor activity provider who may wish to take it up.’
Kim Atkinson, Policy Director of the Scottish Sports Association (the independent and collective voice of Scottish Governing Bodies of sport), said: “The Scottish Sports Association welcomes the recognition of the significant contribution of voluntary sports clubs in providing adventurous activities for people across Scotland. Prioritising support for voluntary sports clubs and minimising any additional bureaucracy for the clubs and their valued volunteers is vital. Our landscape means that Scotland is uniquely placed to provide diverse and quality outdoor experiences for people of all ages and we welcome any proposals to increase participation opportunities in adventurous and outdoor activities. We will continue to work with the Scottish Government in representing the views of our members as a scheme develops.”
- The consultation analysis report produced by Scottish Government following the consultation which was held on developing a safety system for Adventure Activities in Scotland