NEWS
03/10/2012 10:56 BST

Met Office Could Be Sued By Tourist Attraction Owner Rick Turner For Pessimistic Forecasts

The owner of a tourist attraction is threatening to sue the Met Office - for wrongly predicting the weather.

Fed-up Rick Turner who runs the Big Sheep family attraction in Bideford, Devon, claims "needlessly pessimistic" predictions by climate experts are losing him business.

Turner claims the Met Office's forecasts are overly bleak - which puts tourists off day trips in the UK.

This summer was one of the wettest on record

He says negative weather forecasts - which are often wrong - drive customers abroad for foreign holidays.

Turner says he is now considering taking legal action against the Met Office.

He said that visitors tend to book last minute and are being put off by incorrect rain forecasts - and he wants compensation.

He said: "It can mean visitors book abroad instead.

''If The Met Office get it wrong next Easter, I'll try and sue them.

"Somebody has to hold them to account."

Turner said false forecasts cost the industry millions in lost custom, and said he was "prepared to spend thousands on legal action".

The Met Office defended its performance and said it cannot control the weather in a summer which has seen some of the wettest months on record.

Malcolm Bell, head of the tourism body VisitCornwall, said Turner's threat raised an important issue.

He said: ''It would be very helpful if people could know whether it's going to rain for ten minutes that day, which would be less likely to put them off than seeing a blanket rain cloud which could mean a wash-out.''