A bird's eye view of many rows of various coloured shipping containers from above.

The value of the Met Office

The latest review concludes with high confidence that the benefits of the Public Weather Service (PWS) are:

  • very likely to exceed £1bn per annum and
  • likely to be close to £1.5bn per annum

These and other papers referenced in the report were used to access the economic value of weather forecasts to the following sectors.

  • Public
  • Aviation
  • Civil Contingency
  • Land Transport
  • Flood Damage Avoidance
  • Storm Damage Avoidance
  • Added Value to the Economy

This report is consistent with the findings of previous value for money studies and based on a number of sources:

  • PWSCG commissioned report from PA Consulting in 2007
  • Cost benefit analysis prepared by the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT) for its Member States for the next generation polar satellite programme
  • Met Office commissioned study by Helios on the economic benefit of weather services to the aviation sector
  • Internal Met Office paper considering the reduction in flood damage costs resulting from improved weather forecasts


Value to the economy by sector


Value (per annum)





Land Transport


Flood damage avoidance


Storm damage avoidance


Added value to the Economy


The sum of the benefits itemised above is approximately £1.5bn per annum

We can state with very high confidence that the economic benefits of the PWS to the UK are in excess of £1bn per annum. The benefits attributable to the PWS are more likely to be around £1.5bn, and for weather services as a whole the benefits are likely to exceed £2bn.

Lives saved

Overall, it is difficult to quantify an average annual figure for the number of lives which are saved as a result of weather forecasts and warnings. However, modern forecast accuracy, dissemination of warnings and resulting mitigating action may be saving many tens of lives each year from direct impacts of the weather. For extreme events, such as North Sea coastal flooding, hundreds of lives are potentially being saved. Also, excess deaths from heatwaves may be reduced by about 40 per event due to heat-health warnings. In any event, there is no doubt that the PWS saves lives, and to some users and stakeholders that is of greater value that the economic benefits described in the sections above.

Overall cost of PWS

The total price for the PWS in 2022/23 is £123.2m. This is funded by £103.3m from BEIS, £17.1m from aviation with the remainder revenue from other sources such as international research grants.