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Give the Met Office £10m, says Transport Committee

Strange silence from the MoD

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The Transport Committee is backing calls to hand £10m to the Met Office to spend on hardware to improve its long-term forecasting ability.

The Committee reported yesterday on ways to reduce the impact of severe weather on transport links. Last year's winter in the UK arrived early and snow-filled and came as quite a shock to Heathrow and Gatwick Airports.

The talking shop is backing calls for the Ministry of Defence to hand over an extra £10m to the Met for a supercomputer. We called the MoD with this piece of good news but they've not got back to us yet.

Aside from a shiny new computer, the MPs also said we need a Snow Czar to take responsibility for winter.

The committee also said the government could provide decent information online to help individuals and communities prepare and overcome problems. A campaign to inform motorists of precautions they could take would also be useful, MPs said.

It also called on Heathrow, or the airport's owner BAA, to spend a bit of money on "winter resilience".

The Met stopped making long-term forecasts because they were so inaccurate. Although confusingly the forecasters did tell the Cabinet Office at the end of October that a severe winter was on its way.

Although it already has a £33m IBM supercomputer and has previously complained that it needed hundreds of millions of pounds of extra computing power – not a paltry £10m.

The summary of the Transport Committee's report is here. ®

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