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State of the Nation report

Transport is marked overall as the nation's worst performing sector, but six of 12 ICE regions that produced local State of the Nation reports focused on other issues.

Scotland (B-) Sustainability and the environment Sustainability key performance indicators must be used to ensure that all new planning decisions take account of journey times, waste production and energy consumption.

'Development planning and health and education policy are poorly linked to infrastructure provision, ' says the report.

A strategy to cluster schools and hospitals in Scotland has increased travel times in many areas, the report points out.

Integrated transport faces an uncertain future after the Edinburgh congestion charging scheme was rejected. 'Genuinely integrated transport remains only an aspiration in large parts of the country, ' says the report.

Northern Ireland (C) Waste, water and wastewater 'An enormous, well coordinated effort will be required if we are to reverse the consequences of decades of under-investment, ' says the ICE Northern Ireland report.

Development of infrastructure for waste recycling and new markets for recycled products are failing to keep pace with ambitious programmes. Waste scores D+, as it did last year, and the province is in danger of missing European Union Landfill Directive waste reduction targets. The D+ scored by the water and wastewater sectors also reflects long term underinvestment, although compliance with European water quality directives is improving.

West Midlands (C+) Waste and energy The West Midlands' twin crises of waste and energy should be tackled by developing a strong policy to introduce more waste-to-energy plants, says the report. It criticises the West Midlands energy strategy for failing to exploit waste-to-energy or tackle the issue of how the region's coal-fired power stations should be replaced. The report adds that new generation nuclear plants are safer and less wasteful than old ones and calls on the government to 'come off the fence' over this energy source. A strategy for waste is deemed 'imperative' with landfill costs increasing and only one remaining landfill site in the region accepting hazardous waste.

Wales (D+) Waste and energy Waste management in Wales is in crisis following closure of its last hazardous waste disposal facility this year. Now Welsh hazardous waste will have to be transported to plants around the UK, raising disposal costs. ICE Wales calls for urgent Welsh Assembly action to promote up to eight major materials recovery and wasteto-energy centres and suggests that Assembly funding for two or three demonstration projects should be provided 'immediately'. The report is also critical of Wales' approach to energy. 'Huge potential exists to produce energy using marine resources, ' says the report. 'But these remain under-exploited.'

South West (B) Communities for the future Rural areas are suffering underinvestment, particularly in public transport. ICE South West wants any new development failing to address local employment and public transport to be binned.

The report says that public transport 'is patchy at best' and that local roads are badly maintained. The report also raises concerns over carbon emissions since all but two nuclear power stations will be closed down by 2016, to be replaced by natural gas power plants.

North West (C) Waste and seaports A quarter of all waste in the UK is generated in the north west and existing landfill capacity will be exhausted by 2015. The ICE calls for more education and support to reduce waste production and promote recycling. The construction industry must implement site waste management plans.

Greater investment in port deepening and expansion is needed to end the absurd situation whereby goods consumed in the north east are imported through ports in south and east England.

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