LETTER : A load of hot air about Met Office

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From Ms Elenor Hutcheson

Sir: Chris Blackhurst's article ("Met men 'made inaccurate claims'," 25 August) is an insult to our 1,500 members at the Met Office.

Weather forecasters and other professionals have not fiddled the books to boost their pay packets. In fact, they have reluctantly accepted pay rises less than the rate of inflation and have settled for up to 5 per cent less than many other civil servants.

Most customers, including the balloon enthusiast Richard Branson, are very happy with the service they receive. Airlines, for example, save millions of pounds in fuel costs because of accurate upper-wind forecasts.

The Met Office is an acknowledged world centre of excellence and it is a pity that the Ministry of Defence has not allowed us to defend ourselves from cheap attacks such as these.

Yours faithfully,

Elenor Hutcheson

London, SE1

25 August

The writer is the Met Office trade union representative.