The Met Office was last night under fire for its ‘unreliable’ predictions about the movement of the volcanic ash cloud which had threatened to ruin the holiday plans of millions of families.
Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary launched an extraordinary attack on the agency for a ‘totally inaccurate’ forecast that showed a dense cloud of ash engulfing the UK just in time for tomorrow’s bank holiday and half-term getaway.
Yesterday, the Met Office revised its original forecast, downplaying the density of the ash.
But on Tuesday night the organisation had insisted it stood by its prediction that an ash cloud of the highest density would cover the whole of the UK from 35,000ft to 55,000ft.
Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said the new forecast meant the bank holiday getaway could go ahead uninterrupted.
He has also put in place a new structure to deal more efficiently with any future eruptions by Icelandic volcanos.
‘The threat to the bank holiday has been lifted,’ he announced.
It means a big sigh of relief for millions of Britons preparing to fly out on half-term holiday ahead of Bank Holiday Monday.
The news follows days of uncertainty which saw hundreds of flights cancelled to and from Scotland and northern England as the ash cloud moved across the Continent.
According to the latest Met Office forecast, a giant ash cloud is still on course to arrive over the UK at a height of 35,000ft by noon tomorrow – but will be less dense than first predicted.
Yesterday it appeared that the eruptions from Iceland’s Grimsvotn volcano had stopped.
Mr O’Leary told Channel 4 News last night: ‘You cannot shut airspace on the basis of these entirely inaccurate Met Office forecasts of where a volcano ash plume may move 2,000 miles south of Iceland. It makes no sense.
Click source to read FULL report from Ray Massey and David Derbyshire
See also Icelandic volcano: ash flight rules to be overhauled
- The Telegraph