A Met Office chief has spoken out to reject claims that the reason it lost its contract with the BBC was because of money.
The BBC announced yesterday that the Met Office no longer be providing weather forecasts for the Corporation after 2016, adding that they were legally required “to secure the best possible service and value for money for the licence fee payer”.
This morning, the Met Office’s operations and customer services director Steve Noyes told BBC 5 Live that negotiations had only reached a particularly early stage between the two organisations. He emphasised, "At that point, financial aspects had not been a part of the discussion."
The Met Office's forecasters have had a long relationship with the BBC
When pressed on whether money could be be the key issue in eliminating the Met Office from the competition, Steve replied, “No, I wouldn’t have thought it could be, really. But obviously, we need to have a discussion with the BBC in due course to fully understand.”
Steve added that the Met Office awaits a more formal feedback discussion with the Beeb, who have asked him not to comment on particulars at the moment.
However, he was moved to defend the Met Office’s record when pressed on whether it was other issues - flexibility, accuracy - that had swayed the decision.
“We’ve worked for many, many years with the BBC. We’ve been together now for 92 years, and in those years, we’ve shaped the way in which broadcasting weather to the public has evolved,” he said.
"What we do is world-leading, so it’s disappointing we can’t forge forward together.
"Whoever comes to support the BBC will almost certainly be taking our data and information."
The Met Office is still contracted to provide severe weather warnings to the BBC. The bigger contract, to provide forecasts across all its TV networks, radio stations and digital media will now go to either a Dutch or a New Zealand supplier.
Of the forecasters who present on screen and radio, both the BBC and Met Office say their jobs will be safe.
Steve adds, “We’re working with individuals, their future will be secure whatever they decide to do.
“There will be a future for them in the Met Office if that’s what they want, it’s up to them what they decide to do."