Select Committee on Science and Technology Written Evidence

Memorandum 114

Supplementary evidence from the Ministry of Defence


Q.1  What has been the level of Met Office subscriptions to EUMETSAT Programmes since 2000?

  The cost information requested is contained in the attached table. The major satellite types (Polar and Geostationary) are funded through programmes with a total life of 20-25 years. This leads to a cycle of expenditure with significant peaks (during the build phase) and troughs (during the operational phase). We are currently at a low point for both geostationary and polar satellites and expect a significant increase in total contributions over the next few years as new, follow on programmes are approved. When expenditure is averaged over the whole cycle it leads to a long term average payment equivalent to approximately £33 million per year.

  The Met Office, on behalf of the UK, has always adopted a cost conscious approach to EUMETSAT, asserting national influence to ensure that programmes remain as cost-effective as possible. This approach is consistent with the EUMETSAT Convention which requires the organisation to operate in this manner. The Met Office will continue to seek efficiency savings from EUMETSAT and expects the organisation to adopt international accounting standards as soon as practicable to improve its future financial management.

  The Met Office is confident that UK expenditure to date through EUMETSAT has delivered value for money in services that feed directly into UK Public Weather Services which have consistently improved in quality over many years. The Met Office is content that the long-term average payment of some £33 million per annum is adequate to meet existing capabilities. Future investments will go through the normal established approval scrutiny process to ensure that they deliver value for money for the UK taxpayer and to address cash flow issues for the Met Office that arise as a result of the cyclical nature of expenditure.

May 2007

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2007
Prepared 17 July 2007