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Meteorological Office (Aberdeen)

Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 18th October 2005.

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Photo of David Cairns David Cairns Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Scotland Office

My right hon. Friend and I keep in touch with colleagues in the Ministry of Defence on a range of issues, including the current consultation on the Met Office network.

Photo of Jo Swinson Jo Swinson Opposition Whip (Commons), Shadow Spokesperson (Culture, Media and Sport), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Culture, Media and Sport), Liberal Democrat Whip

Bearing in mind the unique nature of Scotland's weather, does the Minister feel that it is appropriate for Scotland to be left with no civil meteorological office? Is he happy that the Aberdeen meteorological office, which is a centre of excellence with great links to the marine and energy industries, may well close, with all forecasting being done 600 miles away in Exeter?


Well done, Jo. This and the fact that the BBC weather service is showing what is in fact a complete misrepresentation of Scotland and the islands on their weather map is another step too far. Add these to the fact that London...

Submitted by Neil Scott Continue reading

Photo of David Cairns David Cairns Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Scotland Office

The hon. Lady pre-empts the ongoing consultation exercise—and no decision has been taken on that, as she well knows. Indeed, I think that she was present during the Adjournment debate in July, which was sponsored by Malcolm Bruce, when the Under-Secretary of State for Defence, my hon. Friend Mr. Touhig, said very clearly that he was willing to consider any representation that might be made. Obviously, the option of keeping the Aberdeen office open as a centre of excellence is part of the current consultation, which is ongoing, and I shall certainly not pre-empt its result.

Photo of Anne Begg Anne Begg Labour, Aberdeen South

Does my hon. Friend agree that the consultation has been full and proper, thanks to the work of the Under-Secretary of State for Defence? People in Aberdeen have been very active in that consultation. I understand that there will be a meeting this afternoon between management and the unions. I hope that that meeting and the consultation will result in maintaining the meteorological office—which is a centre of excellence—in Aberdeen.

Photo of David Cairns David Cairns Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Scotland Office

I thank my hon. Friend for that question. It is true that discussions are taking place today between key stakeholders and officials in the Met Office. Those discussions are the direct result of a clear commitment that my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary made in the House, namely, that if options were proposed he would consider them very carefully. Those at today's meeting will consider whether the talks can produce another definitive option, which may then result in the consultation period being extended. However, as my hon. Friend Miss Begg suggests, there has been a clear, open and transparent consultation, which is continuing.