Lord Robert Mair CBE, a renowned civil engineer recognised internationally as an authority on major infrastructure projects involving tunnelling, has been recommended for the role of chair of the delivery company for the Cambridgeshire Autonomous Metro (CAM).
Lord Mair’s career has combined work as a leading academic at the University of Cambridge with providing cutting-edge expertise for a range of challenging underground construction schemes nationally and globally.
Business case work completed on CAM so far has identified tunnels under Cambridge city centre as a key component of creating a joined-up, world-leading regional public transport network.
At its September 30 meeting, the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority Board will be recommended to appoint Lord Mair as chair of the CAM Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) Board.
Lord Mair’s wealth of experience includes being closely involved with the design and construction of London’s Jubilee Line Extension, HS1 and Crossrail. He is currently advising on design and construction aspects of HS2. Lord Mair has advised on or been a member of expert review panels for major international underground construction projects, notably metro projects in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Bologna, Florence, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Rome, Singapore and Warsaw.
Lord Mair is Emeritus Professor of Civil Engineering and Director of Research at the University of Cambridge and was president of the institution of Civil Engineers from 2017-18.
He sits as chair of the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Science Advisory Council, providing independent scientific and technical advice to DfT on all matters relating to road, rail, marine and aviation. Since 2015, he has sat as an Independent Crossbench Member of the House of Lords and is a member of its Select Committee on Science and Technology.
Mayor James Palmer said:
“The CAM is an enabler of the better, more prosperous and greener future we want for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough by providing world-class public transport normally reserved for cities with populations of half a million or more.
“We have the vision. We are now gathering leading experts with a track record of innovative, bold new thinking to deliver the solution.
“It is a testament to the ambition, importance and the pioneering nature of CAM that Lord Robert Mair has agreed to be put forward for recommendation as our first SPV Board Chair.
“His Cambridge roots will I’m sure add an extra sense of connection to this project and his highly relevant experience and access to extensive networks across industry and academia will help us push CAM forward at pace.
“Momentum is building. Names of the stature of Lord Mair, alongside our appointment of major infrastructure delivery expert Simon Wright OBE this summer, will build further confidence and attract more of the very best talent we need to support the delivery of this groundbreaking scheme.”
Lord Robert Mair said:
“I am delighted to be recommended as the first chair of the CAM SPV Board.
“I grew up, went to school and graduated in Cambridge, returning to the University in 1998 after 27 years in industry. With this background I have a very strong affection and affiliation with this great city and the region.
“The vision for CAM is exciting. A flexible, innovative system will be essential in creating the better transport future the region needs and deserves, while also delivering the decarbonised journeys needed to help safeguard the environment. The unprecedented effects of a global pandemic have also caused a significant shift in how people travel, which must also be factored into any new transport scheme.
“Now is the moment to deliver a truly pioneering system benefitting people and businesses across the region for decades to come.”
Pending approval, the next steps for the SPV Board chair will be to support the recruitment of the rest of the SPV Board, with interviews scheduled for the end of October. Further recruitment, including for a chief executive, is ongoing. Once fully established, the SPV will give the dedicated expertise and resource needed to deliver a scheme of the size and scale of CAM.
The SPV has also now been incorporated, with the name ‘One CAM Limited’.
The Mayoral Combined Authority will retain strategic control of CAM, ensuring it will deliver against the overall vision to support the future prosperity of the internationally competitive economy, while protecting and enhancing the environment.