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GPA gets green light to develop state-of-the-art Weather Centre HQ

Planning permission to develop a new cutting-edge headquarters for the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) at the University of Reading has been granted after Wokingham Borough Council approved the development at its February 2024 Planning Committee.

The new headquarters will be developed by the Government Property Agency’s (GPA) delivery partners AtkinsRéalis and Mace. It will accommodate up to 300 scientists and staff to support world-leading work on all aspects of weather prediction systems, forecast production, and research into Climate Change. The state-of-the-art facility will support the use of the latest advances made in areas such as data assimilation, earth system modelling, predictability and reanalysis to improve forecasts.

With the University’s Department of Meteorology, and parts of the UK Met Office, NERC National Centre for Atmospheric Sciences and NERC National Centre for Earth Observation all currently located within the university, the addition of the new ECMWF HQ will mean Reading will house one of the largest clusters of weather and climate research and operational forecasting facilities in the world.

The project is funded through the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, and will be designed to industry-leading net zero carbon standards. Construction is scheduled to start towards the end of this year and completion is expected in autumn 2026.

Clive Anderson, Director of Capital Projects, Government Property Agency said: “We are delighted to achieve planning permission to develop this new facility, which will deliver a modern, inspirational and energy-efficient headquarters for ECMWF’s forecasting, research and training functions, retaining a world-leading scientific organisation and attracting long-term investment into the region. It’s another milestone for us at the Government Property Agency to deliver smart, modern, sustainable and digitally connected workplaces that focus on supporting productivity and wellbeing.”

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