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Weatherquest loses contract to provide weather forecasts for BBC Radio Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 09:49 30 October 2012 | UPDATED: 15:57 30 October 2012

Chris Bell, from Weatherquest at the UEA. Picture: Denise Bradley

Chris Bell, from Weatherquest at the UEA. Picture: Denise Bradley

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It has been claimed BBC regional radio will no longer provide truly local weather forecasts after the corporation dropped its contract with Weatherquest, based at the University of East Anglia.

Yesterday was the first time in more than 30 years BBC Radio Norfolk did not use regional forecasters, Weatherquest weatherman Chris Bell said.

The BBC has been using Weatherquest since it was set up by TV weatherman Jim Bacon more than a decade ago. Before that it used the Norwich weather centre.

The Weatherquest team of forecasters will also no longer present the weather on TV for BBC Look East – except when the regular presenters are on holiday.

Mr Bell and fellow Weatherquest weatherman Phil Garner said it was disappointing, and complained that the first weather forecast presented by the London team on Radio Norfolk yesterday said it was cloudy when it was, in fact, sunny.

Mr Bell added: “I think it helps to have someone in the area talking about the weather, rather than forecasters from London. If you live in the area, you obviously know the area better than someone in London.

“This part of the world has its own climate, and the weather can vary a lot from the coast to inland. That means that if you are local, you appreciate the conditions better, and you have the local knowledge.”

Weatherquest will continue to do forecasting work for farmers and other media, and a podcast on its website will be updated with the local weather twice a day.

A BBC spokesman said: “Some changes have been made to the organisation of the weather bulletins for BBC Radio Norfolk, with updates now coming from a team of presenters based in our London weather hub, which is one of the four weather hubs across the country supplying weather to BBC local radio stations.

“The London weather hub will also serve all BBC local radio stations in the east of England region.

“We’re aware how important the weather is for listeners and they will continue to receive high quality, regular weather updates from our team of presenters.”

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