• New era at WSP as Smith passes the ball to Hodgson


    Charlie Hodgson has taken over as managing director of WSP’s UK Transport & Infrastructure (T&I) business from Steve Smith, who has retired after four years in the role.

    Mr Hodgson (pictured) joins the engineering professional services consultancy from The Go-Ahead Group where he was managing director of rail development and chairman of the group’s Nordic and German businesses.


    He will now be leading WSP’s 2,700-person T&I business, which acts as a delivery partner to clients such as Highways England, HS2, the Welsh Government and Transport Scotland, as well as local authorities across the UK.

    WSP UK chief executive Mark Naysmith said: ‘I’m delighted to welcome Charlie to WSP at such an important time for our business. Having previously worked in management consultancy, specialising in transport and infrastructure, he brings experience and diversity to our business, which aligns perfectly with our strategic direction.

    ‘I believe our clients will value Charlie’s experience and insight into the diverse transport sector, particularly given his most recent successes at one of the UK’s leading public transport companies.

    ‘I’m grateful to Steve for his unwavering commitment and energy which have been instrumental in creating an award-winning T&I business. I thank him for his leadership and influence which has helped attract and nurture talented people and deliver fantastic projects across the UK.’

    Mr Hodgson said: ‘It’s fantastic to be joining WSP and I’m excited to lead such a well-renowned transport and infrastructure business.

    ‘WSP’s focus on innovative solutions, client care and sustainable design, as well as their industry-leading net zero ambitions, set them apart in the engineering consultancy sector, and I’m looking forward to working with the wealth of brilliant clients the firm advises.’

    WSP specialisms within the T&I business include rail, highways, transportation hubs, local government, and civil, bridge and ground.


    Channel: Transportation

    keywords: Transport Planning

  • Olympics alumnus becomes NIC expert commissioner


    The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) has been bolstered with the appointment of an expert commissioner - and more are expected to follow.

    Neale Coleman CBE (pictured) was appointed NIC Commissioner until April 2022. He is currently director and founding partner at Blackstock Partnerships Limited.


    Prior to this, Mr Neale worked at the Greater London Authority from 2000 to 2015, leading the mayor’s work on London’s Olympic bid, the delivery of the Games and their regeneration legacy, and was a board member of the Olympic Delivery Authority throughout its life.

    Mr Neale co-chaired the Olympic Delivery Group and was appointed CBE in the New Year Honours 2013 for services to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

    Professor Sir Tim Besley, Professor Sadie Morgan and Bridget Rosewell have also been reappointed as NIC Commissioners for a further five-year term.

    A competition for additional new commissioners to add to the NIC’s expertise will also be launched in the coming months.

    Chancellor Rishi Sunak, said: 'Infrastructure investment in the right projects, being built better and faster than before, is key to our economic recovery.

    'The National Infrastructure Commission is an essential part in this effort, and these appointments will ensure that it has the right expertise to succeed.'

    Tim Besley CBE is School Professor of Economics and Political Science and W. Arthur Lewis Professor of Development Economics at the LSE. He was a co-chair of the LSE growth commission.

    Sadie Morgan OBE, BA (HONS), MA (RCA), FRSA is a co-founding director at the award-winning practice, dRMM Architects. She became the youngest and only the third ever female President of the Architectural Association in 2013. In March 2015, she was appointed as design chair for HS2.

    Bridget Rosewell OBE, CBE, MA, MPhil, FICE was appointed chair of the Independent Review into Planning Appeal Inquiries in June 2018.


    Channel: Infrastructure


  • Local boy Mair lined as CAM chair


    Renowned civil engineer Lord Robert Mair CBE has been lined up as chair of the delivery company for the Cambridgeshire Autonomous Metro (CAM).

    The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority said Lord Mair is recognised internationally as an authority on major infrastructure projects involving tunnelling.


    It added that business case work completed so far on the CAM has identified tunnels under Cambridge city centre as a key component of creating a joined-up, world-leading regional public transport network.

    At its 30 September meeting, the combined authority board will be recommended to appoint Lord Mair as chair of the CAM Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) board.

    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 Lords and is a member of its Select Committee on Science and Technology.

    He said: ‘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.’

    Combined authority mayor James Palmer said: ‘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.’


    Also see


    Channel: Infrastructure

    keywords: Transport Planning

  • Ex-Crossrail boss brought in to provide CAM challenge


    Former Crossrail chief executive Simon Wright OBE has been appointed to support the development of the Cambridgeshire Autonomous Metro (CAM).

    Mr Wright joins the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority on a part-time consultancy basis, to provide strategic input to the development of a ‘One CAM’ strategy which aims to bring the programme’s component projects together in an integrated scheme.

    Simon Wright OBE

    The authority described him as ‘a civil engineer and senior executive with more than 40 years’ experience delivering multi-billion pound infrastructure programmes’.

    Mr Wright’s previous experience includes as programme director for Crossrail Ltd between July 2014 and March 2018, after which he was briefly chief executive until stepping down in November 2018, part of the fall out of emerging delays to the project.

    Between 2013 and 2014, Mr Wright was Network Rail project development director, responsible for the £3bn redevelopment of Euston station. He was director of infrastructure and utilities at the Olympic Delivery Authority for six years leading up to London 2012.

    Mr Wright is currently a non-executive director of the Restoration and Renewal Delivery Authority Ltd, a special purpose company set up to deliver the restoration of the Houses of Parliament. He is also a non-executive board member of the sponsor board for the project.

    Mr Wright said: ‘This is a highly innovative, bespoke transport concept for the region and there are few other systems in the world quite like it. But the method of delivery, through an special purpose vehicle, is very familiar and my job will be to challenge how the CAM develops in a positive way.

    ‘That means asking the right, and sometimes difficult, questions to ensure that the assumptions that the scheme are based on are always sound and that the innovative thinking required also leads to cost effective and efficient delivery of a reliable system.’

    Cambridgeshire and Peterborough mayor James Palmer said: ‘CAM is one of the biggest infrastructure projects in the UK and a world-first. We need leading people who can combine the bold new thinking necessary with a clear-eyed focus on practical delivery. Simon’s role will be to challenge and improve how CAM is developed.

    He added: ‘Harnessing and deploying the right expertise and talent at the right time will be critical to building the CAM. We are now working to recruit an outstanding chair and board for our new SPV and we expect to attract more leading minds locally, nationally and globally because of the innovative nature of this scheme.’


    Channel: Infrastructure

    keywords: Light Rail

  • Webb takes the chains at the IHE


    The presidency of the Institute of Highway Engineers (IHE) has been officially handed over to Stephen Webb, who will serve until June 2022.

    The handover took place during the IHE’s Annual General Meeting, which was held as virtual meeting on Wednesday 29th July 2020. Outgoing president Jonathan Pearson 'handed over' the chains of office.


    Mr Webb (pictured) is an associate with WSP, based in Taunton. He is an Incorporated Engineer, having gained his IEng in 2007 when he also joined the South Western Branch of the IHE, where he has served the branch as Treasurer for the last 13 years.

    He said: ‘It is a privilege to become president of the Institute, despite taking the reins in the slightly strange world of a virtual meeting.

    ‘It is a privilege to take over from Jonathan and I hope I can help steer the Institute through the exceptionally difficult times we are currently facing.’

    Mr Webb is head judge for the Highways Awards 2020. Mr Pearson, previously head judge, remains on the judging panel.


    Also see


    Channel: Highways