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Regional Development Agencies

The Minister for Industry and the Regions (Alun Michael): I have decided to appoint the new Board Members listed at Annex A and to reappoint the RDA Chairs and Board Members, listed at Annex B. Both new appointments and reappointments will be for a period of three years.

The new appointments, with the exception of Vanda Murray (NWDA), and all the reappointments, will begin on 14 December 2005. Vanda Murray will take up her appointment, at the North West Regional Development Agency (NWDA), on 1 April 2006. All the appointments will expire on 13 December 2008. I have placed further details of both the new appointments and reappointments in the Library of both Houses. All of them were made in accordance with the Code of Practice of the Commissioner for Public Appointments.
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Annex A: New Appointments
East Midlands Development Agency (EMDA)Parvin AliStan Crawford
North West Regional Development Agency (NWDA)Vanda Murray
One North East (ONE)Ian Brown
John Shipley
South West Regional Development Agency (SWRDA)Nigel CostleyKelvyn DerrickJonathon Porritt
Yorkshire Forward (YF)Kath Pinnock

Annex B: Reappointments

All reappointments commence on 14 December 2005.
Advantage West Midlands (AWM)Richard Hyde
Nick Paul (Chair)
East of England Development Agency (EEDA)Stephen CastleGeorge KiefferBryony Rudkin
East Midlands Development Agency (EMDA)Neville JacksonRoss Willmott
North West Regional Development Agency (NWDA)Marie RimmerMaureen Williams
One North East (ONE)Kevin Rowan
Christine Smith
South East of England Development Agency (SEEDA)Jim Brathwaite (Chair)
Poul Christensen
Sarah Hohler
Keith House
Terry Mills
John Peel
South West Regional Development Agency (SWRDA)Judith ReynoldsHarry StudholmeEric ThomasJuliet Williams (Chair)
Yorkshire Forward (YF)Julie Kenny
John Napier

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Autumn Performance Report

The Secretary of State for Transport (Mr. Alistair Darling): I have today published my Department's Autumn Performance Report for 2005. Copies have been laid before Parliament and placed in the House Libraries.

The Report sets out the Department's progress made on our seven Public Service Agreement targets over the last six months since the publication of the Annual Report in June 2005.

Potters Bar Derailment

The Secretary of State for Transport (Mr. Alistair Darling): On 23 May 2005, in response to a question from the hon. Member for Hertsmere (Mr. Clappison), the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State informed the House that I expected to be in a position to decide whether to hold a public inquiry into the Potters Bar derailment once the Crown Prosecution Service had decided whether to bring prosecutions. On 17 October 2005, the Crown Prosecution Service announced that they would not be bringing any prosecutions. After careful consideration, I have decided that there should not be a public inquiry into the rail accident at Potters Bar on 10 May 2002 in which seven people died.

Three investigations into the accident have taken place, by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the British Transport Police and the Rail Standards and Safety Board. The HSE interim reports made recommendations in order to avoid a similar accident in the future and I am satisfied that these recommendations have been acted upon. In addition, the coroner intends to hold a full inquest, which will take place as soon as the necessary arrangements can be put in place. I have agreed, if necessary, to fund his costs.

I do not therefore believe, on legal or general policy grounds, that it is necessary or appropriate to hold an inquiry in this case, or that such an inquiry would reveal more information on the cause of the accident than is already available.

The Health and Safety Executive recognise rail safety has improved and, when responsibility for safety enforcement is transferred to the Office of Rail Regulation, they will continue that work. Since the accident Network Rail, the company which replaced Railtrack, has taken steps to improve maintenance and ended the practice of contracting it out to separate companies. Network Rail now takes direct responsibility for maintenance of the rail network.