East Anglian radar project
A radar network review recommended the addition of a radar in East Anglia to improve network coverage, provide better and more detailed observations of rainfall further east than currently possible.
A planning application to install a radar at Old Buckenham was refused by Breckland District Council in May 2021.
The Met Office, Environment Agency and Anglian Water submitted an appeal against the planning refusal in August 2021. This is now being considered by HM Planning Inspectorate and we anticipate a final decision being reached by the end of July 2022.
Having considered the options we still hold the view that a weather radar in East Anglia is essential to the wellbeing of people throughout the region and further afield, providing improved severe weather and flood warnings that will protect lives and property, and that the Old Buckenham site is the best location for that weather radar.
The Met Office is proposing the installation of a new weather radar in East Anglia. This proposed infrastructure project is being funded by ourselves (an Executive Agency of BEIS) and the Environment Agency. This will be the UK’s first new weather radar installation since 2009 and will be a valuable addition to our existing network of 15 operational weather radars across the UK, which provide real-time information to help monitor and forecast heavy rainfall.
The observations provided by this new radar will be particularly useful for immediate emergency response in times of extreme weather conditions , such as rapidly developing heavy showers and easterly snowfall events in East Anglia as seen in 2018 with the ‘Beast from the East’. They will also be of value to Anglian Water and the Environment Agency who manage water resource in the region.
A thorough investigation was conducted into a number of possible sites across the region, with potential benefits weighed up against likely costs and associated risks, including future viability. A brownfield site has been identified in Old Buckenham, on land owned by Anglian Water who we are working with closely in the planning and construction of the proposed radar. This is the only potential site, out of the 16 investigated, that could provide 1km resolution coverage over the whole of Norfolk, right up to the coast line.
We submitted a planning application to the Local Planning Authority at Breckland District Council in December 2019.
Having listened to the concerns of local residents and the airfield, we withdrew the initial application in mid-March 2020.
A review of radar coverage is vitally important if we are to provide better, more detailed observations of rainfall and improve the lead-time of warnings for significant weather and potential flooding in the area. As a consequence, we still feel a radar will provide significant benefits to the people of Norfolk and beyond and submitted an application in January 2021.
A weather radar in East Anglia would help meteorologists deal more confidently with Easterly and North-easterly snow situations that impact East Anglia, as well as summer convective storms, and slow-moving weather systems. It would also reduce risk to property and life by improving flood and weather warnings throughout the region as well as providing benefits to the wider UK. Data obtained from the radar would be integrated into weather prediction models and provide increased resilience for the wider network. We estimate that damage avoided by the introduction of the radar and the resulting improvement to severe weather and flood warning could amount to over £1m per annum.