County metro plan on the agenda in House of Lords

James Palmer

James Palmer - Credit: Archant

A £4billion metro scheme which could serve parts of the Huntingdonshire area has been the subject of ‘positive discussion’ in the House of Lords.

The proposed 88-mile CAM Metro, which includes nearly eight miles of underground track in Cambridge, would extend as far as St Neots and Alconbury if it gets the go-ahead.

It was discussed in the House of Lords as part of a debate on the 'UK innovation corridor' linking Cambridge to London.

Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, James Palmer said he was "hugely encouraged" to hear members of the House of Lords talk enthusiastically about plans for the CAM Metro, which included a request for Government support and a commitment to raising the project with ministers.

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, which is behind the ambitious project, has said there was a "compelling case" for the metro which could bring 100,000 jobs and 60,000 homes. It would be funded by business and central government.

Baroness Brown of Cambridge, a crossbench member of the House of Lords, raised the CAM Metro in the debate, describing how it offered solutions to the pressure on the local transport network and the cost and scarcity of housing.

She said: "I ask the minister to offer the Government's support for this exciting and innovative plan, which would help to ensure that the region can continue to attract the best and brightest young researchers and their families to contribute to innovation and economic growth in the UK."

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Baroness Barran added: "In response to the request by the noble Baroness, Lady Brown, for the Government to support the CAM scheme that is being developed, I will mention it to ministers and make sure that they are aware that the plans are being worked up."

Mr Palmer said: "It was really encouraging to hear that the CAM Metro was raised with such enthusiasm and energy in the House of Lords by Baroness Brown, and responded to positively, with a commitment to ensuring it would be raised with ministers.

"Clearly, our engagement with central Government is ongoing and essential to the CAM Metro project, and to see talk of this scheme resonating in the halls of Westminster can only be a good sign."

He said: "When I speak with people of various backgrounds and persuasions about the metro, the feedback is very positive. Now we have the evidence in the recent Strategic Outline Business Case that there is a clear strategic and economic basis for CAM Metro, where £4 in economic benefits can be gained from every £1 invested in the scheme. This compelling case will ensure we can continue to foster important widespread support for the metro."