BBC Pulls Plug On Met Office

cartoonThe BBC has ended a partnership with the Met Office dating back more than 90 years by deciding not to renew its contract to provide weather forecasts. The last bulletin presented by the Met Office will be broadcast in October 2016, 94 years after the first, in November 1922. Bill Giles, who led the Met Office’s team of BBC forecasters from 1983 to 2000, was among those in shock at the decision. “It’s a hell of a shame. It’s the end of an era,” he said. –Nicholas Hellen, The Sunday Times, 24 August 2015

In recent years the Met Office has often felt less like a dispassionate provider of weather information and more like a lobbyist for the climate change agenda. It frequently seems more interested in pronouncing on the long-term climatology of rain forests and polar ice-caps than providing the best possible bread-and-butter local forecasts for its clients? Yes, it’s sad that the Met Office has effectively been sacked by the BBC after 93 years but it only has itself to blame. –Editorial, Daily Mail, 24 August 2015

controversial BBC radio programme that questioned the scientific credentials of the Met Office is unlikely to have influenced the broadcaster’s decision to end its nearly 100-year relationship with Britain’s official weather service, it has been claimed. The BBC announcement came three weeks after a contentious Radio 4 programme, What’s the Point of…?, focused on the Met Office. The programme, presented by a Daily Mail columnist, questioned the accuracy of the long-term forecasts made by the Met Office in its scientific assessments of the risk posed by global warming and climate change. A BBC spokeswoman said: “There is absolutely no link between the programme and the situation we’re in now.”  –Steve Connor, The Independent on Sunday, 23 August 2015

The Met Office may only have itself and some of its more swivel-eyed defenders to blame. With its hunger for news headlines, it occasionally went further than it should have done in predicting ‘barbecue summers’ and so forth. Sometimes you got the impression its forecasts were being written by the same hand that authored the Book of Genesis and its chapters about Noah’s flood. Gosh, they did love to whip up a storm about a few isobars. But if that is a shame in itself, it’s as nothing to the Met Office’s political lobbying, pushing a green, climate-change agenda with such force it stopped being seen as a dispassionate observer and started to look too much like a political player. –Quentin Letts, Daily Mail, 24 August 2015

Energy and Climate Change secretary Amber Rudd is gearing up to slash solar power subsidies as part of the government’s latest effort to cut costs for consumers. Last year, Britain installed more solar panels than any other country in Europe, with demand bolstered by generous payments of 43p per kilowatt hour, nine times the wholesale rate. It is widely expected that Rudd will go even further, cutting the current rate by as much as half this autumn. The government has already removed subsidies for other renewable energy initiatives, including the guaranteed level of subsidy for biomass conversions. –Lauren Fedor, City A.M., 24 August 2015

Local councils were on a collision course with the government last night as a battle loomed over the awarding of almost 160 new fracking licences. Councillors across England expressed fury at government plans to fast-track approval for dozens of new fracking projects in Lancashire and Yorkshire, and at threats to overrule councils if they drag their heels on planning decisions. Gina Dowding, a councillor on Lancashire county council, which rejected plans by the shale gas firm Cuadrilla to drill wells on the Fylde coast in June, said it was “extremely shocking” that the government felt it could override local democracy. –Robin Pagnamenta, The Times, 22 August 2015