The Met Office has been added to the list of Category 2 Responders under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004. The change in status strengthens the Met Office role as a key organisation in the planning and response to emergencies and incidents across the country.
The 2021 statutory review of the Civil Contingencies Act contained a recommendation to add both the Met Office and the Coal Authority as Category 2 Responders. The National Resilience Framework published in December 2022 acknowledged that the Government draws on the science capabilities of public sector organisations such as the Met Office, ‘for important data and evidence on resilience challenges’.
Will Lang is the Head of Situational Awareness at the Met Office. He said, “We welcome the change to Category 2 Responder status. Weather and climate advice is becoming increasingly important to national resilience, particularly given the increasing frequency and severity of extreme weather. This move is an important acknowledgement of our role as the UK’s National Weather Service recognising how vital the timely delivery of accurate weather forecasts and severe weather warnings are in protecting lives, livelihoods, and critical national infrastructure.
“We already work closely with Local Resilience Forums and emergency responders across the country, not only as emergencies unfold but we also play an important role during emergency planning and multi-agency training exercises helping highlight potential risks.”
The Met Office has a dedicated team of Civil Contingency Advisors that provide 24/7 support to emergency responders, national and local government across the country during times of severe weather. Civil Contingency Advisors are often embedded in multi-agency resilience command centres and contribute to high level Government meetings during emergencies.
The types of incidents the Met Office commonly assist with include impacts from severe storms, tidal alerts, periods of extreme heat or cold, plume predictions (such as volcanic ash) as well as offering support to the agencies responsible for forecasting and responding to flooding.