Heated exchange over sunniest town

Young people soak up the sun on Hastings seafront
Young people soak up the sun on Hastings seafront

A STORM has broken out between Hastings and neighbouring Eastbourne over which town can be crowned the ‘sunniest place in the UK’.

The row comes after Eastbourne appeared to have secured the accolade when Philip Eden, meteorological expert and weather correspondent for The Daily Telegraph, said this week that the town enjoyed 1,962 hours of sunshine last year.

No sooner had tourism chiefs in Eastbourne capitalised on the announcement, with Cllr Neil Stanley, the council’s cabinet member for tourism, saying he was ‘absolutely delighted’ with the news, council bosses here in 1066 Country shot him down, saying Hastings saw more than 2,000 hours of sunshine in 2011.

David Powell, meteorologist for Hastings Borough Council (HBC), said Hastings saw 2,010.8 hours of sun in total.

Mr Eden, who manages the websites weather-uk.com and climate-uk.com, gathered figures from the UK and found that Eastbourne recorded an average of five hours and 23 minutes of sunshine each day last year.

But Mr Powell said Hastings’ daily average of sunshine for 2011 topped that, being five hours and 49 minutes. And provisional figures from the Met Office reveal Hastings had a sunnier year than Eastbourne. But the figure was 1,999 hours.

Councillor Peter Chowney, HBC’s lead member for marketing and tourism, said: “It’s an outrage. Hastings always tops the league and we rarely get the recognition.

“We are very proud to say that we’re definitely first when it comes to the amount of hours of sunshine we have every year and of course, we’re the best place in the UK to live and visit so come to Hastings and St Leonards and enjoy a sunnier holiday.”

Mr Eden said equipment used to measure sunshine differed between areas.

He added: “Figures can be different depending on whether you use electronic weather stations or traditional methods of recording. One year’s figures are neither here nor there. What you’ve got to do is take an average look over a number of years.”

He said he did not have figures for Hastings.

But the Met Office said Shanklin, on the Isle of Wight, beat both Hastings and Eastbourne, as it had 2,019 hours of sunshine last year.

St Helier, in Jersey, was the sunniest in the British Isles with 2.184 hours.