Attraction boss may sue Met Office
A tourist attraction boss says he is considering legal action against the Met Office after "a series of overly pessimistic" forecasts which he says is threatening to bring the tourist industry to its knees.
Rick Turner, who runs The Big Sheep animal attraction in north Devon, said he has contacted lawyers with a view to possibly suing the Exeter-based Met Office for damages.
Mr Turner said: "My issue is about the medium-term forecasts the Met Office have been doing always being incredibly pessimistic. Over the August bank holiday weekend I remember they forecast a whole weekend of rain with heavy rain on the Saturday. We did not have a drop and were enjoying sunshine and blue sky all day.
"This will have cost the tourism industry here in the South West millions of pounds and my business thousands. I have been seeking legal advice and am looking to get a group of other tourism businesses to go with me in taking a group action against the Met Office for losses incurred as a result of their pessimistic forecasting."
The UK has endured one of the worst summers on record, and the wettest for more than 100 years, with many days blighted by downpours.
Mr Turner said his business, an all-weather tourist attraction, fared well when it rained but said the South West's tourist industry suffered as a whole when visitors were put off from travelling to the South West by "negative" medium-term forecasts.
He said: "We benefit from poor weather as one of the largest all-weather attractions in the South West and have had a great summer, but we need to get people to come on holiday and enjoy the wonderful South West.
"The Met Office do a fine job for their short-term forecasts, which are usually spot-on. But there have been a number of disastrous bank holiday weather predictions which have not been accurate and I will look to take legal action."
A Met Office spokesman said: "We have to tell the weather as it is, and it has been very hard to find someone who hasn't found this summer very disappointing. No one, not even the Met Office, is able to get it right 100% of the time. But the UK is lucky enough to have one of the best weather forecasting services in the world.
"Devon is one of the wettest counties in England, and the Met Office cannot stop it raining. What we have been doing is providing really good forecasts on our website. Over 87% of the time we are getting it right which is phenomenal. The Met Office is trusted to give the best possible guidance on the weather by the public and we report the weather exactly as it is. Research shows are forecasts are right six days out of every seven."