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Have your say on plans for Cambridgeshire Autonomous Metro

A public consultation has been launched today (Friday, February 21) on plans for the Cambridgeshire Autonomous Metro (CAM).

The CAM on a road outside the city. Picture: Natalie Harmer (29796301)
The CAM on a road outside the city. Picture: Natalie Harmer (29796301)

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough mayor James Palmer has launched the consultation on the scheme, which includes an underground section in Cambridge and four regional routes.

The planned underground section will include interchange hubs at the city centre and at Cambridge railway station, and the regional routes will connect the city to St Neots, Alconbury, Mildenhall and Haverhill.

The consultation states that the scheme will be delivered ‘over the next decade’.

The proposed network map (29796293)
The proposed network map (29796293)

Mr Palmer is calling on everyone with an interest in CAM, described as a “smart metro-style network” to comment on the proposals.

He said: “It’s a world-class public transport system for Cambridgeshire and I hope many of its future passengers will meet the CAM project team. The public voice must guide any public service, and I urge people to get involved in the consultation, through attending events, or feeding in online.

“CAM will be a beacon of smart, clean autonomous public transportation and will be the future for ourselves and our children, so we all need to have our say and help get it right.”

He continued: “The CAM network will fill a historic transport gap - connecting rural communities with the centre of Cambridge, with employment hubs on the city fringe, with the region’s growth hotspots, and with the city’s railway stations linking to London and beyond.

“CAM will reinvent global public transportation, will tackle an age-old transport problem with a mass transit system that will transform the day-to-day lives of people across Cambridgeshire with fast and reliable travel, designed to sustain social activity and economic growth.

“By reducing reliance on private cars, CAM will cut congestion and tackle air quality, improving our environment for generations to come.”

Proposed mainline interchange. Picture: Natalie Harmer (29796289)
Proposed mainline interchange. Picture: Natalie Harmer (29796289)

Last week, Mr Palmer called a halt to the Greater Cambridge Partnership’s Cambourne to Cambridge busway scheme, stating it did not fit with his plans for CAM.

The consultation runs from today (Friday, February 21) to Friday, April 3. It includes six public exhibitions where members of the CAM project team will be on hand to take questions and discuss the project with the public.

The consultation materials will also be available online at cam.consultationonline.co.uk.

What a metro entrance tunnel might look like. Picture: Natalie Harmer (29796296)
What a metro entrance tunnel might look like. Picture: Natalie Harmer (29796296)

Responding to the consultation launch, Cambridge City Council leader Labour’s Cllr Lewis Herbert said: “We welcome the opportunity the consultation gives Cambridge and wider residents, organisations and businesses to comment at an early stage on the ambitious plans for a CAM Metro, particularly proposals for its central tunnelled section.

“It also shows the importance of the four Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) fast public transport routes planned by 2025 from the city edge to Granta Park, Cambourne which we are talking to the mayor about, Waterbeach and Quy as they already take into account the four potential underground portals featured in the consultation.

Cambridge City Council leader Lewis Herbert. Picture: Keith Heppell. (29800057)
Cambridge City Council leader Lewis Herbert. Picture: Keith Heppell. (29800057)

“There will be many, many questions from our Cambridge community so we ask people to visit the exhibition and comment on the proposed routes, like the city centre station location and whether it should be Drummer Street or not. There will be questions too for the Combined Authority to answer on funding the metro tunnelled part, and on timescales and deliverability.

“And whatever happens, the city will need earlier radical transport improvements in the 2020s too, where the city council and the GCP will work with the mayor on improving buses and air quality, cycling and walking, and on cutting congestion and carbon emissions, as that has to happen way before the CAM Metro can start.”

Cambridge City Council opposition leader, Lib Dem Cllr Tim Bick added: “It’s not totally clear what the questions are that the mayor is really hoping to answer with his consultation.

“There are likely to some be concerns about the impact on the environment of the large areas of land needed for entries and exits from tunnels and the construction of stations in built up areas, but there really isn’t much information provided about that for residents to comment on.

Cambridge City Council opposition leader Cllr Tim Bick Picture: Phli Mynott. (29800103)
Cambridge City Council opposition leader Cllr Tim Bick Picture: Phli Mynott. (29800103)

“The project could certainly offer benefits to the area, although they would be a long way off. We should be worried if this blocks more tangible action that is needed on congestion and carbon emissions and pollution before this underground metro could ever happen - and then nothing at all ever happens!

“The real question about the project is how realistic it is and how the mayor will find the money to fund it. I doubt whether this consultation is really going to help with that.”

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority is seeking the public’s feedback on the need for and benefits of CAM, and the potential route alignments for the City Tunnel Section.

Feedback from the Mayor’s public consultation will inform the Outline Business Case, which will be finalised later in 2020.

To discuss the proposals with the CAM project team call the freephone information line on 01223 608001, email at cam@consultation-online.co.uk or via post questions via freepost to ‘FREEPOST CAM CONSULTATION’.

Read more:

Mayor James Palmer threatens to stop Cambridge to Cambourne busway in its tracks

£100k to progress Cambridgeshire Autonomous Metro regional routes

Mayor wrestles control of Cambridge to Cambourne busway scheme from Greater Cambridge Partnership

Mayor gets backing for 2020 metro consultation

Mayor James Palmer describes Cambridge United's new stadium plans as an exciting vision

All aboard: Taking CAM Metro to the new stop

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