Working with local firms

Miriam RowanTo provide accurate weather forecasts, we first need data on the present state of the atmosphere. Therefore, it is essential to have a reliable, well-maintained network of Automatic Weather Stations that collect a variety of data. Miriam Rowan, Sub-category manager at the Met Office, explains how we work with local firms that look after our Automatic Weather Stations.

“The Met Office has a network of around 150 observation stations, many of which are automated. Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) are usually grass enclosures that require regular grounds maintenance.

To achieve a dependable, consistent service, we work with local firms that provide the grounds maintenance for our Automatic Weather Stations. Some contractors look after a few sites, but many of them look after just one site in their hometown.

They are located all over UK, with many of them in remote, challenging locations such as Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis. Some of the sites are not easy to access, so we have various policies to make sure our contractors and employees are safe.

To maintain all of our 95 unmanned sites, we have contracted 31 local companies. Thirty of these are Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). Their sizes vary but, as of August 2017, we had 15 contractors classed as SMEs or self-employed individuals on our books to do the grounds maintenance.

The value of the contracts with each company varies as well, depending on the number of sites, their size and difficulty to access. The total value of grounds maintenance contracts with all 30 SMEs is around £140k each year.”