UKHO could be privatised

A review is set to begin soon to determine the future of the charting authority

The UK Hydrographic Office, the body that produces nearly all of the UK’s nautical charts, could be privatised under a review ordered by undersecretary of Defence Derek Twigg.

Currently, the UKHO is run as a trading fund, a body that is owned by the Government but funded through the sale of products.

The potential privatisation of the Office has certainly raised some interesting questions. Would charts become cheaper or more expensive? Would more or less care be taken in their production? And will it remain economically viable to keep charting the less popular anchorages and areas?

A report in the Guardian newspaper suggests that the move by the Ministry of Defence could lead to further privatisation of Government-owned trading funds, such as the Met Office and Ordnance Survey.

On the privatisation, chief executive of the UKHO Mike Robinson said: “The quality, integrity and commitment to safety upon which the UKHO is founded won’t be adversely affected by any change in its status.”

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