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Stephen Glaister appointed new Office of Rail and Road chair

The Department for Transport has appointed Stephen Glaister as the new interim chairman of the UK’s road and rail watchdog.

Stephen Glaister interim chairman of ORR

DfT appoints new ORR chairman

Mr Glaister will lead the Office of Rail and Road for the next 12 months. His appointment comes as the government looks into the future role and responsibilities of the ORR following a report by Dame Colette Bowe last month, in which she called for a ”fundamental review” of the watchdog.

The government is also awaiting the publication of High Speed 1 chief executive Nicola Shaw’s report on the future financing and structure of Network Rail.

Mr Glaister will officially take up his role on 1 January 2016, replacing current chair Anna Walker who is stepping down after six years. He takes the position having been made a non-executive director at the ORR in April 2015.

Mr Glaister has held positions on a number of transport organisations’ boards, including Transport for London and the RAC Foundation, and has been an adviser to the Commons transport select committee.

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “A strong, independent regulator is essential in maintaining the safe and smooth running of the UK’s transport network and I am confident that Professor Glaister will bring continuity and stability to the ORR as we consider the broader shape and structure of the rail industry.

“His wealth of experience will ensure the organisation is best placed to respond to the challenges ahead and able to deliver both value for money for taxpayers and improvements for passengers.

Mr Glaister said: “I am honoured to be leading ORR as chair at this time of both rejuvenation and enhancement for rail and road, working with ORR’s expert staff – all of whom are committed to serving the public interest.

“The UK transport sector continues to expand, demanding a stable, secure and well-governed regime to enable it to provide adequately for the needs of a growing economy. This includes strong and independent economic and safety regulation which protects the interests of investors, taxpayers and users – not least the travelling public. The ORR will continue to be dedicated to this task.

“Our transport and infrastructure sectors are recognised as important. But they are complex and ever-changing. They naturally undergo reviews of how their institutions work effectively.

”The ORR welcomes the review of the longer-term future shape and financing of Network Rail and the separate review of ORR’s future role. We will make a positive contribution in helping both reviews arrive at a successful conclusion.”

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