" A sustainable Aggregates Industry for a sustainable Europe "

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Current trends for the European Aggregates Sector

Each year, UEPG gathers and collates best available aggregates production data from right across Europe. The provisional data for 2015 for 39 countries is presented, together with the sub-totals for the EU 28 plus EFTA countries as well as for the EU28 countries only.

Although data quality improves year by year, it is by no means perfect. However, UEPG data is now regarded as probably the most authoritative available. It remains challenging to assemble exact data for an industry that is comprised predominantly of SMEs. It was agreed at the UEPG Delegates agreed in May 2015 to provide provisional prior year data as early as possible, and the cooperation of all countries in achieving that goal is very gratefully acknowledged.

For the EU28 plus EFTA countries, the total production for 2015 was just on 2.66 billion tonnes (bnt). This indicates an increase of 0.5% in 2015 compared to 2014 and continues the very modest growth trend since 2013.

The industry annual turnover is estimated to be in excess of €15 billion, testament to its economic importance as well as its strategic importance as Europe’s most-used construction material.The primary materials came from 26,000 quarries and pits, operated by 15,000 companies (most of which are SMEs).

The European Aggregates Industry is demonstrating its commitment to the Circular Economy through also producing no less than 277 mt of secondary materials in 2015, including recycled, re-used and manufactured aggregates, which now corresponds to 10% of the total aggregates production of 2.66bnt. The leading countries in secondary materials are Luxembourg leads, followed by UK, Malta, Netherlands, Belgium & Germany. Production of secondary materials in other countries is slowly increasing, though may not be as commercially viable in countries of lower population density. It is likely that recycling is in many cases not fully reported, so that actual progress may be greater.

It is noteworthy that while aggregates production declined in Europe by 30% since 2007, the asphalt sector suffered a 25% decline, while the cement and ready mixed concrete sectors both suffered declines of 40%. It would appear that the relative resilience of the aggregates sector was assisted by the diversity of its markets and product end-uses. In 2015, Cement and Readymix trends also confirm economic stabilisation at last.

The number of countries predicting some growth exceeds those predicting a decline, but with the very modest growth projections. Overall a 0.9% growth is predicted indicating an EU28+EFTA total tonnage of just on 2.7bnt in 2016.  Prediction for 2016 for EU+EFTA is +0.9% v 2015, to just on 2.7 bnt.