The Met Office has been awarded a contract to provide weather information and advice to Highways England.
The new ‘Weather Forecasting Information Services Contract’, commissioned by Highways England’s National Winter and Severe Weather Team, builds on the existing 15-year relationship between the two organisations, and strongly supports innovation through the partnership.
The daily provision of forecasts and advice to HE remains the core part of the service, however a team of Met Office meteorologists will also be embedded within Highways England’s National Traffic Operations Centre over the winter months. This team will provide up to the minute advice to operational staff to enable them to effectively maintain safety and minimise disruption on the road network.
Richard Hewitt, weather forecasting services manager at Highways England, said: “Highways England is looking forward to working closely with the Met Office over the next few years. We face the challenge of growing demand for travel on the strategic road network combined with a mandate to operate a free-flowing, safe and serviceable network. To meet this challenge, it is critical that we continue to effectively manage all areas of winter and severe weather service.
“By working in partnership with the Met Office, we continue to have direct access to high quality information relating to forecast weather conditions on our road network and world renowned experts in their field, allowing us to better manage our asset during times of adverse weather.”
The service covers the provision of national and Area 7 weather forecasting services from 1 July 2016. In 2017, the service extends to include operational weather forecasting for areas 1, 2, 13 & 14 once these adopt the Asset Led Delivery Model (ALDM). Building direct, collaborative relationships with supply chain partners is a fundamental principle of Highways England’s new way of working under ALDM.
The contract will run for a minimum of three years and has an expected value of £1m.
Jodie Wild, strategic relationship manager at the Met Office, said: “We are excited to have been awarded this contract and look forward to continuing our close working relationship with HE over the next three years.
“In choosing the Met Office, HE has recognised not only the excellent support we have delivered to them over the last 10 plus years, but also our ability to lead innovation and development in the future. Our world-leading weather and climate science means we are well placed to deliver national and local services, ensuring a targeted operational response in advance of and during severe weather.”