The BBC tried to prevent climate sceptics from taking part in a Radio 4 programme about the Met Office.
Senior BBC editors discussed the programme before it was made and agreed that it “would not feature challenge to the majority scientific view on climate change”, according to a BBC Trust ruling.
Quentin Letts, presenter of What’s the Point of…the Met Office, broadcast in August, was not informed of the editors’ decision. He interviewed a Conservative MP and a weather forecaster who both accused the Met Office of overstating the risks from climate change.
The trust ruled that the programme seriously breached the BBC’s editorial guidelines on accuracy and impartiality and ordered that it should be deleted from iPlayer, meaning the public can no longer hear it.
Mr Letts said: “It’s a bit Orwellian. There’s an amateurishness to their sinister attempts to control thought.”
Peter Lilley, the Conservative MP interviewed, said the BBC was trying to silence people like him who, while not denying global warming, questioned whether the world would warm as fast as the Met Office claimed.
He condemned the decision to remove the programme from iPlayer: “[The BBC] tried to censor it in advance and failed so they have censored it retrospectively and succeeded.”
In the programme, Mr Letts asked Mr Lilley whether he was a “total sceptic on man-made climate change?”:
He replied: “No, I studied physics at Cambridge, so I accept the basic thesis that…a lot more CO2 in the atmosphere, will marginally warm up the earth but I’m what’s known as a luke-warmist, one who thinks that there won’t be much warming as a result of it and that’s the scientifically proven bit of theory.
“Anything going on the alarmist scale is pure speculation. The sad thing is that they’ve become committed to a particular pseudo-scientific doctrine and now are unwilling to change their doctrine when the facts refute it.”