Climate Action

Birmingham asphalt plant


“Generating our own clean power not only reduces our carbon footprint, but also provides long-term energy security for Tarmac operations. We’ve been proactively making significant improvements to our operations and product portfolio for many years – it’s great to be taking another step on towards our sustainable future, using home-grown electricity at one of our flagship sites, contributing to the generation of renewable energy.”

Rob Doody, managing director for Tarmac’s midlands region

Our Birmingham asphalt site has a fantastic central location in Washwood Heath, and is pivotal in supplying some of the region’s most prestigious projects.

Following its opening in April 2021, the plant is now in full operations supplying asphalt, while the aggregates facility supplies drystone. The new ready-mix plant, opened at the end of 2021, is now also supplying concrete to customers.

The site was built with sustainability in mind. From regenerating derelict land, creating jobs and generating renewable energy – our newest site in Birmingham is leading the charge when it comes to sustainability.

The site is primarily rail-fed, with aggregates arriving from Tarmac’s Tunstead quarry in the Peak District. This removes 20,000 truck journeys a year from the road and means more environmentally-friendly deliveries into Birmingham. The trains making this journey also run on hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO). HVO is synthesised from 100% renewable raw materials such as vegetable oils, animal oils and fats, which reduces net CO2 greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90%.

In 2022, over 400 photovoltaic (PV) panels were designed and installed by award-winning solar energy specialists Custom Solar on the south facing roof of the plant and the site offices. Generating up to 194,000 kWh of renewable energy each year, the installation will supply around 10% of the site’s electricity demand.

The site at Washwood Heath is the first of Tarmac’s asphalt plants to install solar PVs, and we are now working on designs to roll out the technology at other similar sites across the UK, which will place less demand on the national electricity network, as well as make our operations even more sustainable.

The focus on sustainability extends to the products too. Warm mix asphalt is produced at lower temperatures than the traditional hot mix, which saves on gas, energy and CO2 emissions. The plant is currently using 25-30% recycled asphalt planings (RAP) and has the potential to increase this to up to 40% in the future. The site is also moving towards producing rubber modified asphalt from shredded tyres, which will see up to 750 tyres recycled per kilometre of new road.