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Call to overhaul Welsh infrastructure

Wales’s infrastructure needs urgent attention so it can meet the demands placed on it in the future and allow the economy to grow, engineers warned today.

A report scored the condition of water, waste, transport, flood and energy systems as cuts in public spending loom.

The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) rated Wales’s infrastructure a grade C overall, meaning it requires attention.

Drinking water infrastructure got the only B-rating - adequate for now - while wastewater, flood risk management, waste and transport were graded C.

ICE Wales Cymru director Keith Jones said: “Our nation’s infrastructure underpins our economic growth and quality of life.

“Although we have known for some time there are weaknesses in some core infrastructure systems these results stress that we must take urgent action if we are to meet future demands and retain a strong local economy.

“The report’s conclusions are worrying for Wales’s future development and productivity.”

He said particular attention should be given to the ageing wastewater system, much of which was built in the 19th century, and creating a transport network that encourages people out of their cars.

“Timing is of the essence, our infrastructure is holding up now but we cannot afford to be complacent with demand and population set to increase and environmental targets looming,” said Jones.

The report recommends addressing a backlog of road works and calls for the electrification of the main railway line between London and Swansea.

The findings are part of a UK-wide assessment which gave a poor C-grade rating overall and warned the new government had little time to act.

Environment minister Jane Davidson said: “It is essential that we retain the infrastructure to support our progressive One Wales agenda.

“It is now critical that there is the necessary investment from the government to allow us to respond appropriately to the report’s recommendations.”

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