Met Of­fice loses BBC con­tract but mar­itime fore­casts un­af­fected

Yachting Monthly - - NEWS -

The UK Met Of­fice will no longer pro­vide weather fore­casts to the Bri­tish Broad­cast­ing Cor­po­ra­tion (BBC). From spring 2017, weather fore­casts broad­cast by the BBC on tele­vi­sion, ra­dio and the In­ter­net will be pro­vided by pri­vate weather firm Me­teoGroup.

The se­lec­tion of Me­teoGroup, a pri­vate eq­uity owned weather com­pany based in Hol­land, was made in Au­gust, al­though the end of the Met Of­fice’s con­tract with the BBC was an­nounced in Au­gust 2015. It is the first time since BBC weather broad­casts be­gan in 1922 that the weather data will not be pro­vided by the Met Of­fice.

Nigel Char­ters, project di­rec­tor for BBC Weather re-pro­cure­ment, ex­plained: ‘We’ve car­ried out a thor­ough, reg­u­lated pro­cure­ment process to test all the or­gan­i­sa­tions that ap­plied on a wide range of ar­eas in­clud­ing data, fore­cast­ing, graph­ics and tech­nol­ogy. This de­ci­sion will mean we can fur­ther modernise our weather fore­cast­ing, mak­ing the most of new tech­nol­ogy and sci­ence, to bring our au­di­ences an even bet­ter ser­vice. The vast ma­jor­ity of our well-known and much-loved pre­sen­ters will con­tinue to front BBC Weather. It will also save us mil­lions of pounds over the next seven or so years.’

Mar­itime fore­casts on BBC ser­vices, such as the ship­ping fore­cast and se­vere weather warn­ings, will still be pro­vided by the Met Of­fice, how­ever, as these fall un­der a dif­fer­ent con­tract. All fore­casts pro­vided by the Mar­time and Coast­guard Agency (MCA) over VHF ra­dio, such as the ship­ping and in­shore wa­ters fore­cast, gale, strong wind and storm warn­ings will con­tinue to be pro­vided by the Met Of­fice.

A spokesper­son for the MCA said: ‘The ship­ping fore­cast is paid for and pro­vided by the MCA as part of a suite of mar­itime ser­vices that fall un­der our obli­ga­tions from the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) con­ven­tion. The pro­vi­sion of the ship­ping fore­cast will con­tinue to be from the MCA’s cur­rent cho­sen sup­plier, which is the Met Of­fice. The MCA will con­tinue to sup­ply the ship­ping fore­cast and as­so­ci­ated marine weather warn­ings to the BBC un­der a sep­a­rate agree­ment.’

Me­teoGroup, which has 16 of­fices around the world, was founded in the Nether­lands in 1986. It cur­rently pro­vides weather ser­vices to broad­cast­ers in­clud­ing Sky and Chan­nel 4.

Me­teoGroup chair­man Richard Sadler com­mented: ‘It has been a de­mand­ing se­lec­tion process. I am de­lighted that Me­teoGroup has emerged as the suc­cess­ful bid­der based on rig­or­ous cri­te­ria, in­clud­ing our fore­cast­ing and the qual­ity of our vi­su­als.’

The Met Of­fice did not com­ment on what im­pact the loss of the BBC con­tract might have on their op­er­a­tions, but re­mained up­beat: ‘The BBC is one of a num­ber of the Met Of­fice’s cus­tomers. We’ve known for a year that our re­la­tion­ship with the BBC is go­ing to change and have been work­ing hard to make sure ev­ery­one can con­tinue to ac­cess our fore­casts and warn­ings on a range of chan­nels, in­clud­ing our new app,’ a spokesman said.

He­len Chivers, Met Of­fice head of news, said: ‘Our long-stand­ing re­la­tion­ship with the BBC will con­tinue as they broad­cast our na­tional se­vere weather warn­ings and in­ter­view our ex­perts.’

Met Of­fice data could still be used in BBC weather fore­casts, how­ever, as it is widely sold to the pri­vate fore­cast­ing sec­tor. ExBBC weath­er­man and man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Weather Con­sul­tancy Ser­vices Si­mon Keel­ing ex­plained:

‘Me­teoGroup will have ac­cess to Met Of­fice data but the graph­ics sys­tems at the BBC can im­port many var­i­ous com­puter mod­els, where at the mo­ment you just see the Met Of­fice.’

‘This is a huge mo­ment for pri­vate sec­tor weather in the UK. It’s time to prove we can op­er­ate more ef­fec­tively than the Met Of­fice and give re­li­able fore­casts.’

From spring 2017, the Met Of­fice will not sup­ply BBC weather data

The ship­ping fore­cast, read by Carolyn Brown, re­mains a Met Of­fice ser­vice

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.