Page last updated at 17:19 GMT, Thursday, 20 May 2010 18:19 UK

Bournemouth launches own weather site

Bournemouth beach
The council claims inaccurate forecasts are costing businesses money

A Dorset coastal resort has set up its own weather website amid claims that Met Office predictions caused tourists to stay away.

Bournemouth Borough Council said the town lost more than £1m in revenue over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend in May 2009.

It claimed an inaccurate Met Office prediction of bad weather was "disastrous" for businesses.

The Met Office said its predictions are 86% accurate and "totally impartial".

The new weather service, provided by WeatherNet, is costing the council £3,000 a year and will operate between April and October.

Mr Smith, of Bournemouth Tourism, said: "This investment is set against the potentially high commercial losses that result from customers being deterred by inaccurate weather forecasts."

Influencing tourists

He added: "We decided enough is enough. Tourism is too important to Bournemouth to have it damaged by poor forecasts.

"To get the quality and accuracy we need, we have been working with a local weather company, Weathernet, who have many years of experience in producing accurate localised weather forecasts.

"The weather can have a big influence on where tourists go for last-minute getaways in the UK and with the ongoing threat of volcanic ash disrupting flights abroad and uncertainty around BA strikes, even more people will be staying in the UK.

On some days forecasts will not go to plan and this will be the same for any other forecaster
Met Office spokeswoman

"Accurate weather information increases business and this new forecast will be worth more than £2m per year in extra trade for Bournemouth through increasing visitors."

A Met Office spokeswoman said their accuracy rate of 86% means they provide "good advice".

"Although, on some days forecasts will not go to plan and this will be the same for any other forecaster. However, Met Office forecasts are totally impartial and will reflect the weather situation - be it dry or wet.

"Bournemouth Tourism is of course entitled to use its own weather forecasts, but visitors and residents of Bournemouth should continue to visit the Met Office website and listen out for local BBC broadcasts for information about severe weather warnings.

"The Met Office is surprised and disappointed to hear about Mr Smith's comments, which follows a visit he made to the Met Office last year.

"He was complimentary about the capabilities and forecasts."

On Tuesday Bournemouth Borough Council confirmed that a £3m artificial surf reef built in the sea off Boscombe was sub-standard.



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