BBC defends weather forecast changes –

BBC defends weather forecast changes Published:  26 May, 2005

PROTESTS from the fishing industry over changes to the BBC Television weather format have cut little ice with the broadcasting body.

The Scottish White Fish Producers’ Association has led the charge with a complaint to the corporation underlining concerns that new format does not disclose either isobars or wind speeds, both of which are “fundamental” for fishermen deciding whether or not to go to, or remain at, sea.

“A correct weather forecast with as much information as possible is essential for our members to operate safely at sea and it is quite unacceptable that the new weather forecast format does not contain the information necessary for our members to make a balanced judgement on their seagoing activity,” the association contends.

But the BBC has told association secretary George MacRae that it will take time for audiences to get used to the new look but the revised format would give the extra clarity and detail viewers have said they want from weather forecasts.

Today Mr MacRae said:

“The BBC response is unacceptable and is quite astonishing.”

Meanwhile Bertie Armstrong, the chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation said the boats which will find most difficulty with new format, are the smaller vessels.

“This is an issue for smaller boats, particularly under 10m, who do not have the investment power, physical electrical power or the time to be attending to real time weather forecasting machines.

“The old weather presentation was a significant source of safety information for them.”

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