Promoter company to push project forward

James Palmer said new company represents the start of an exciting new phase for the CAM project

The Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority this week approved proposals for the creation of a new, separate company charged with leading the delivery of the Cambridgeshire Autonomous Metro (CAM) as one joined-up scheme.

The CA says creation of the Special Purpose Vehicle will provide the dedicated resource and focus needed to deliver a programme of the scale and complexity of the CAM.

A series of recommendations for the formation of the SPV were presented to the CA Board on August 5. They include plans to recruit an SPV chair and board of leading experts. Following that process, the proposed SPV chair will be referred to September’s Combined Authority Board meeting for approval.

James Palmer the mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough has advocated a ‘One CAM’ approach, combining the CAM’s various workstreams and route section projects into one, integrated scheme. The need to put the CAM’s delivery on this footing is one of the key reasons for the establishment of the SPV.

Other benefits of an SPV are that it will bring together the right leadership and talent to drive the scheme forward, within a tailored governance structure that will provide the assurance necessary for a programme of this size.

It will also provide the commercial environment necessary to attract investment and to credibly promote the scheme to Government. It is also intended that the SPV will be agile and flexible, bringing in the appropriate resource and expertise when needed as the CAM moves through its delivery phases.

The CA would wholly own the SPV as its direct subsidiary body and retain the strategic decision-making role over the CAM.

“The formation of an SPV will be just the start of an exciting, dynamic and very necessary new phase of the CAM’s delivery,” said Palmer.

“The Combined Authority as an organisation can only take the development of a programme of this significance so far. The CAM is one of the largest infrastructure programmes in the UK and, like with other major schemes such as East West Rail, HS2 and Crossrail, it now needs a separate body geared specifically towards its delivery.

“With an SPV in place, led by an outstanding chair and board, we will be better able to champion the CAM as one joined-up, transformational scheme. This will help attract the necessary funding, confidence and support from Government and investors, and enable closer working with key partners.

“The government is championing an agenda of a bold levelling up of our regions – and challenging the old way of doing things in order to focus on delivery. It wants to support the UK’s innovative businesses and dynamic entrepreneurs to compete globally and it wants to spread prosperity further in regions.

“The CAM delivers on this mission in spades.

“The CAM is innovative, clean and flexible, and it is absolutely what the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough economy needs. It is not just about providing world-class public transport but is also an enabler of the extra homes and jobs we need to ensure a sustainable economic future for our region, and crucially, allow more people to share in its opportunities.

“The CAM is about local action, with national impact and which supports our global competitiveness.”

An accompanying report, called The National Significance of the CAM, provides evidence of how important the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough economy is to the global economic pull of the UK.

As the location for unique clusters of science and tech enterprise, and attracting skilled workers, entrepreneurs and investment from across the globe, the success of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough has been described as a “project of national importance”.

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