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.’
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.
The Foundation for Integrated Transport (FIT) has appointed Professor Phil Goodwin and Professor John Whitelegg as its first two Senior Fellows.
The charity said the appointments followed a public competition, which attracted a strong field of excellent applicants. Fellows are not employed by FIT but remain independent and autonomous.
The overall theme of both fellowships is transport and climate change. The fellows are planning a number of specific working papers, events and activities, which will be worked up in more detail over the summer, with further details on the FIT website in the autumn.
Foundation secretary Alastair Hanton said: ‘The Foundation’s vision is for transport as a basic human right, provided with minimum impact on other people’s lives and the environment.
‘We are delighted that these fellowships will support the work of Phil and John – both distinguished scholars who have already made notable contributions to both the theory and practice of sustainable, integrated transport.’
Prof Goodwin plans work on the carbon effects of past and present roads programmes aimed at developing a net-zero compliant sustainable roads strategy; work on road space reallocation arising out of coronavirus pandemic; technical and evidence base used by activists campaigns, both in support of sustainable policies and against unsustainable ones.
He said: ‘FIT is establishing a reputation as a key charity in the transport field, with the fellowships and projects it supports, and indeed in the contributions made by the Trustees themselves.
‘It is an honour to be recognised in this way. The next two years will be of critical importance in developing transport’s contribution to environmental justice and climate protection, and I am looking forward to making a contribution in these testing times.
Prof Whitelegg plans a meta-review on measures and interventions with CO2 reduction results; collaboration with leading policy institutes including Wuppertal, Lund University, and Tyndall; best practice case studies e.g. Oslo, Freiburg, Lund; contacts with climate emergency centres in unitary and county councils; a workshop on measures and best practice; and short summaries based on the EU Evidence project in accessible style.
He said: ‘To tackle climate change, transport is a central issue, in some ways the most difficult but also the one where sustainable transport can best give improvements to people’s lives in local, everyday matters.
‘It will be great to develop this further, at a local, national and international level. Phil and I will be working on our separate agendas of work, and will also collaborate in joint work, which will be stimulating and productive.’
The FIT said there will be scope for interaction and co-operation on these work programmes, both with each other and with networks of other interested researchers and agencies, which will develop over the period.
Dipesh J Shah OBE will be the new chair of Highways England from 1 September.
A former board member of the Crown Estate and Thames Water, Mr Shah will oversee the delivery of the £27bn Road Investment Strategy 2020-25 (RIS 2).
He takes over from Colin Matthews, who led the organisation for six years and was briefly chair of the Highways Agency just before it became Highways England.
Mr Shah OBE said: 'I am honoured to be invited to chair Highways England, which plays a pivotal role in connecting communities across England. I look forward to working with colleagues to deliver the very significant programme of improvement and expansion of the road network in support of the government’s levelling-up agenda.'
Roads minister Baroness Vere said: 'This government is determined to build our way out of COVID-19, providing the infrastructure, jobs and skills needed to support our economy.
'I am delighted that Dipesh Shah will be leading the Highways England team at this crucial time, delivering major projects that will really make a difference to communities across the country.
'I’d also like to thank Colin Matthews for seeing Highways England through its first phase as a new company, including the successful delivery of the first road investment strategy.'
Mr Shah brings extensive experience from both the public and private sectors. He has served boards in the infrastructure, financial services and energy sectors and was formerly the CEO of the UK Atomic Energy Authority, having earlier held several senior positions at BP.
ADEPT stalwart Mike Ashworth is to retire as executive director for economy, transport and environment at Derbyshire County Council.
He has been in his current role since June 2013, overseeing oversees a portfolio that includes regeneration and economic development, transport, countryside, waste, highways, strategic planning, and emergency planning.
Mr Ashworth (pictured) said: ‘Having worked at Derbyshire County Council for 30 years it was a very tough decision for me to decide to retire in September, as I have really enjoyed the work and the excellent working relationships I’ve developed over the years with colleagues and partners.
‘From starting my career as a trainee civil engineer to becoming an executive director, my work has been incredibly varied and I’ve seen and been involved in implementing many changes which I hope have improved the working lives of my colleagues and benefited Derbyshire residents.
‘There are too many highlights to mention, but I’m especially proud of my work supporting ADEPT and all that it has achieved, the involvement by the council in opening a new station at Ilkeston, the successful Markham Vale economic regeneration development, and most recently the introduction to the council’s fleet of its first electric cars.
‘The last 12 months have been some of the most challenging of my career, with Derbyshire being hit especially hard by storms and flooding, including the evacuation of the town of Whaley Bridge when the Toddbrook reservoir dam threatened to fail last summer.
‘However, the coronavirus pandemic has truly tested us all, and I’ve been incredibly proud to lead a department where my staff have worked tirelessly to keep people safe and keep vital services running.’
Toddbrook reservoir’s dam partially collapsed after a storm in 2019
The council’s deputy leader, Simon Spencer, said: 'Mike has worked tirelessly for Derbyshire County Council for 30 years and in that time he has overseen or been involved in many significant and important projects which have benefited Derbyshire residents and the local economy.
‘He has also ensured that, despite budget challenges and the battering Derbyshire has taken from storms and floods over the last 12 months, the county’s infrastructure is sound and safe, with teams continuing to work hard during the lockdown to fix thousands of potholes while social distancing.
‘Mike’s remit is vast, but so is his knowledge, and he is involved in every aspect of his service, bringing a calm and professional approach to all the challenges the job brings with it. He will be greatly missed by all at Derbyshire County Council and the many partner agencies he has worked so closely with over the years.’
In a message to members, ADEPT president Nigel Riglar wrote: ‘[MIke] has said he will be happy to work with ADEPT in the future, so it might not be a clean getaway!’