HC Deb 24 February 1937 vol 320 cc1986-7
43. Mr. Markham

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether, in view of the fact that an up-to-date series of average weather statistics is not available to the public, he will cease to permit the Meteorological Office to charge commercial firms and students for supplying information of this kind?

The Financial Secretary to the War Office (Sir Victor Warrender)

I have been asked to reply. It is not the practice of the Meteorological Office to charge for the normal supply of weather statistics. Any member of the public can call at the Meteorological Office and he will be shown the data he requires and is at liberty to take a copy free of charge. If he wishes the Office to make a copy, a small charge based on the time of the clerical staff employed is made.

Mr. Markham

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that fundamental and basic statistics which ought to be available are not available, and that comparatively high prices are charged for elementary services?

Sir V. Warrender

No, I cannot accept that.

44. Mr. Markham

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether any members of the staff of the Meteorological Office are engaged in full-time research in weather forecasting; and whether any arrangements are being made to provide more intensive researches into this subject?

Sir V. Warrender

In the present conditions of pressure arising from the urgent needs of expansion it is not practicable for the time of any members of the staff of the Meteorological Office to be devoted wholly to research in weather forecasting. A considerable amount of research, however, on this and other meteorological subjects is being constantly carried out. As soon as the pressure abates and fully trained meteorologists are available, I hope that it will be possible to provide for more intensive research into weather forecasting.

Mr. Markham

Can the hon. Gentleman say when research into this question was last made or whether there is any extensive research going on, as there seems to be an impression that no research has taken place since the pre-war years, and that the present situation is not due to the defence plan?

Sir V. Warrender

There is research going on all the time, but it is limited owing to the pressure which exists on the present staff. We hope to increase the staff, and are in fact increasing it now. Nevertheless considerations affecting the safety of flying are being actively looked into.

Mr.' Montague

Are the recommendations of the Maybury Committee in reference to this service and kindred services likely to be adopted by the Government?

Sir V. Warrender

That is another question.

Mr. H. G. Williams

May I ask my hon. Friend whether the Meteorological Office has reported any depression recently at County Hall?

50. Mr. Markham

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air by what number the staff of the Meteorological Office has been increased during the last three years; and what further additions it is proposed to make in the near future?

Sir V. Warrender

The total staff of all grades in the Meteorological Office in February, 1934, was 315, and the present total is 423, an increase of 108. So far as can be seen at present, a further increase of about 100 will eventually be required, and of these it is expected that about 40 will be recruited in the course of a month or so.

Mr. Markham

Is it possible to say how many of these additions to the higher staff will be available for research work?

Sir V. Warrender

I am afraid I cannot say without notice of the question.