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Planning permission has been granted for new headquarters for the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) at the University of Reading.

Following approval by Wokingham Borough Council at its February 2024 Planning Committee, work on the ECMWF’s new HQ is scheduled to start towards the end of this year, with completion expected in Autumn 2026.

The new headquarters will be developed by the Government Property Agency’s delivery partners AtkinsRéalis and Mace. It will accommodate up to 300 scientists and staff to support work on all aspects of weather prediction systems, forecast production, and research into Climate Change.

The 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.

Minister Alex Burghart, parliamentary secretary for the cabinet office, said: “Reading is the ideal location for this new headquarters, perfectly positioned to access the University’s strong talent pipeline and create fantastic new opportunities for the next generation. “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. Its 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.

Professor Robert Van de Noort, vice-chancellor of the University of Reading, said: “This is extremely positive news. We already collaborate closely with our ECMWF colleagues and look forward to welcoming them onto our campus”

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