Investment plans revived for Ibstock

Plans for a new brick factory at its Atlas site in Walsall have been revived by Ibstock. They plan to invest £60m in its Atlas and neighbouring Aldridge plants to in order to be able to deliver 115 million brick capacity.

The existing mothballed Atlas facility will be replaced with a new wire-cut clay brick factory which is expected to be the first net zero carbon brick manufacturing facility in the UK.

The original investment plan was first announced in early 2020 but put on hold when the Covid-19 pandemic forced building sites to close.

With brick demand back to being greater than the domestic manufacturers capacity to supply, Ibstock has brought its plans back to life, but with an increase in capacity and further enhancements to deliver improved environmental performance. The project also now includes investment to upgrade and expand capacity at the adjacent Aldridge brick factory.

Early this year Ibstock claimed to be the UK’s first building products manufacturer to buy 100% of its electricity from renewable sources. It says that the new Atlas factory would have “outstanding sustainability characteristics, incorporating state of the art technology, with significantly reduced process emissions, resulting in a major reduction in carbon intensity”.

Joe Hudson chief executive said: “We’ve made an encouraging start to 2021, supported by robust demand in both the new build housing and RMI markets. With the market outlook now clearer, we are refocusing on growth. Redevelopment of our wire cut brick facilities in the West Midlands will deliver a significant capacity expansion, further demonstrating our leadership in the clay brick market, which is expected to continue its long term growth over time. The project is another tangible example of our commitment to the net zero carbon journey and provides a great example of British building products manufacturing”.