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11 May 2023

Cutting through the noise: New report provides insight on regional construction and mineral product markets trends

The Mineral Products Association (MPA) has published a new regional construction and mineral products markets report, giving a detailed assessment of historic, current and future trends across every region of Great Britain.

Primarily prepared to help inform and support the local mineral planning system, the annual report compiles a range of industry data and broader context to paint a clear picture of the main drivers of activity in heavy-side construction materials and industrial minerals – it’s an essential tool for producers and planners alike.

The report includes summaries for all regions and devolved administrations in Great Britain, illustrating the recent performance of construction and mineral products markets, with critical insight on the sectors that are expected to drive growth in mineral products demand over the next five years (2023-27).

While London is often regarded as the key hub of new construction projects and infrastructure, representing 21% of the total value of construction output in 2022, the report highlights that the East of England and Yorkshire and the Humber are both expected to see the fastest rate of growth (2.2%) over the next five years, led by energy-related projects.

Data on mineral products sales volumes is collected through a rigorous survey process among MPA producer members, who make up the vast majority of the total mineral products markets, including 90% of total GB market sales for primary aggregates and asphalt, for example, and 75% for ready-mixed concrete.

The report reveals that construction demand for mineral products in 2022 recorded a gradual loss in momentum as the year progressed on the back of a worsening macroeconomic environment and slowing activity in key segments of construction. Tonnages of primary aggregates sales fell by 8.2% on an annual basis compared to 2021, asphalt by 6.5%, and ready-mixed concrete by 3.8%.

The East Midlands was the biggest market for asphalt and crushed rock in 2022, accounting for 15% and 29% respectively of total sales in Great Britain. It is also the region that emerged as the most resilient to the downturn last year, recording the smallest falls in demand.

Meanwhile, London was the biggest centre of demand for ready-mixed concrete, accounting for 19% of total sales volumes from fixed plants. Demand in London last year remained broadly flat, in contrast to the 5.5% decline recorded at national level.

Finally, much of the sand and gravel used in Great Britain for the manufacture of ready-mixed concrete are produced from the West Midlands, the East of England and the South East, which together accounted for 53% of total sand and gravel sales in 2022.

Luke George, Economist at MPA and author of the report, said: “This new report provides a valuable insight to the contrasting dynamics in construction and mineral products markets across the various regional and devolved administrations of Great Britain. Our aim is to provide a unique, easy-to-use point of reference to support MPA members, planning professionals and other industry experts in their decision making processes. This report cuts through the overwhelming quantity of industry data that’s available and revised almost daily.”

“Minerals, and the wide range of construction products that are derived from them, are key elements to the successful delivery of many of Government’s ambitious policy objectives, such as on housing and infrastructure, including achieving the energy transition and delivering Net Zero. The success of the UK economy to deliver on these objectives will depend on local mineral planning authorities and mineral producers having robust evidence around future market needs, given delivery is heavily reliant on the availability and supply of essential mineral products.”

The new report titled Regional overview and forecasts of construction and mineral products markets in Great Britain - Spring 2023 can be accessed on the MPA website.


About the Mineral Products Association:

The Mineral Products Association (MPA) is the trade association for the aggregates, asphalt, cement, concrete, dimension stone, lime, mortar and silica sand industries. With the merger of British Precast, and affiliation of the British Association of Reinforcement (BAR), the British Calcium Carbonate Federation, the Cement Admixtures Assocation (CAA), CONSTRUCT, Eurobitume, MPA Northern Ireland, MPA Scotland and the UK Quality Ash Association (UKQAA), it has a growing membership of 520 companies and is the sectoral voice for mineral products. MPA membership is made up of the vast majority of independent SME quarrying companies throughout the UK, as well as the 9 major international and global companies. It covers 100% of UK cement and lime production, 90% of GB aggregates production, 95% of asphalt and over 70% of ready-mixed concrete and precast concrete production. In 2018, the industry supplied £16 billion worth of materials and services to the Economy. It is also the largest supplier to the construction industry, which had annual output valued at £172 billion in 2018. Industry production represents the largest materials flow in the UK economy and is also one of the largest manufacturing sectors.

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