Met Office loses BBC weather contract

The Met Office has lost its BBC weather forecasting contract, it has confirmed.

The UK’s weather service has provided the data used for BBC forecasts since the corporation’s first radio weather bulletin on 14 November 1922.

The BBC said it was legally required to secure the best value for money for licence fee payers and would tender the contract to outside competition.

The Met Office said it was disappointed by the decision. A replacement is expected to take over next year.

‘Disappointing news’

Steve Noyes, Met Office operations and customer services director, said: “Nobody knows Britain’s weather better and, during our long relationship with the BBC, we’ve revolutionised weather communication to make it an integral part of British daily life.

“This is disappointing news, but we will be working to make sure that vital Met Office advice continues to be a part of BBC output.”

Former BBC Weather presenter Bill Giles told BBC Radio 5 Live that he was “absolutely shattered by it (the news)”.

“We have one of the best Met offices in the world… there won’t be any more accurate (service) from anyone else, far less.”

The Met Office also provides many of the presenters who read the weather on the BBC and said it would be supporting them to “ensure clarity on their future”.

But a BBC spokesman said they didn’t anticipate significant changes to the on-air presenting team, which includes Strictly Come Dancing contestant Carol Kirkwood.

The spokesman said: “Our viewers get the highest standard of weather service and that won’t change.

“We are legally required to go through an open tender process and take forward the strongest bids to make sure we secure both the best possible service and value for money for the licence fee payer.”

The new provider will be announced later this year.

The spokesman said the Met Office’s severe weather warnings would still be used by the BBC.

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