TAUNTON MP Jeremy Browne is meeting UK Hydrographic Office chief executive Mike Robinson on Monday to discuss the future of the service.

The two will discuss the three options being considered for the UKHO - completely rebuilding it at its current site on Admiralty Way, Taunton; moving to a new site in Norton Fitzwarren; or relocating in premises alongside the MetOffice, in Exeter.

Government Minister Derek Twigg, who will make the final decision on the proposals by the end of the year, was in Taunton last week to meet some of the 1,000 staff and bosses.

Mr Twigg, who had earlier indicated the Ministry of Defence would make an announcement by the end of January, said a review was now being undertaken into the role of the sea chart maker.

He has now pledged to make his announcement about the future siting of the UKHO once that review is complete - towards the end of 2007.

Among the possibilities is that the UKHO could become a company partly privatised or fully owned by the MoD, while experts are looking at how it can exploit the digital market.

Mr Browne is keen to press the Government to keep the UKHO in Taunton and he is also asking for a quick announcement.

The County Gazette is also running a campaign to keep the service in Taunton and a petition with hundreds of readers' signatures has already been handed to the Government by Mr Browne.