Weather plans are seriously flawed says Prospect

Weather plans are seriously flawed says Prospect

Plans by the Met Office to close the six remaining civilian weather centres have been slammed by Prospect, the union representing 1,300 scientists, forecasters and other staff at the Met Office.

The union says proposals to close civil weather centres in Aberdeen, Cardiff, Belfast, London, Manchester and Birmingham and to centralise weather services at the Met Office headquarters in Exeter are misguided, are being pursued with undue haste and without a proper evaluation of their worth.

The union is also angry that the proposals are only open for a 30-day consultation period. Prospect has written to the minister responsible, Don Touhig, calling for a stay of execution and a meaningful assessment of the value of the proposed changes to the whole of the UK.

Prospect says the proposals are flawed because they do not take sufficient account of:

  • the political impact of the withdrawal of national weather services from Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the English regions
  • the loss of revenue from public and private customers
  • the risk of the necessary technology not being available in the timescale proposed
  • the loss of staff expertise. Highly skilled forecasters may choose not to relocate to Exeter and would threaten the service provided to the UK as a whole.
Prospect negotiator Jim Cooper said: "The union does not accept that the proposals are in the best interests of the Met Office or the UK. Management has proceeded with this plan in an effort to balance the books, rather than after a thorough assessment of the value of the centres to the communities they are located in and the industries they serve.

"It is easy to look at the cost of services but they have done little to determine the value of those services and what will be lost by the closure of the weather centres. Prospect recognises that change is inevitable, but it should not be change for the sake of it."