Cutting-edge weather in Reading

Planning permission granted by Wokingham Borough Council for new state-of-the-art HQ for European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) 

The new HQ 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. State-of-the-art facilities will enable the latest tech to be applied to improving the age-old challenge of predicting the weather. Those latest advances include data assimilation, earth system modelling, predictability and reanalysis.

The new HQ for the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, image courtesy of BDP

The new HQ for the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, image courtesy of BDP

The University of Reading is the perfect home for the new HQ as it already hosts its own Department of Meteorology as well as parts of the UK Met Office, NERC National Centre for Atmospheric Sciences and NERC National Centre for Earth Observation. Adding the ECMWF will create one of the largest clusters of weather, climate research and operational forecasting facilities in the world. 

The building has been designed by BDP, with office space augmented by council chamber, conference and seminar spaces. There will also be a gym, cycle provision, staff restaurant and an external amenity space. 

Construction work will begin later this year on a modern, accessible and highly sustainable new HQ for the ECMWF, due for completion in late 2026. The site will be developed by AtkinsRéalis and Mace, the Government Property Agency’s delivery partners. Funding is provided via the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, and the project will be designed to industry-leading net zero carbon standards. 

Alex Burghart, Parliamentary Secretary for the Cabinet Office, says: ‘Ensuring the UK stays at the forefront of the global science and technology sector is essential to delivering long-term economic growth and security across the country. 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.’ 

Clive Anderson, Director of Capital Projects at the Government Property Agency, adds: ‘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 well-being.’ 

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