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Housing: Construction

Volume 472: debated on Wednesday 20 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what estimate she has made of the amount of gravel required to build three million new homes by 2020; (185224)

(2) what estimate she has made of the average amount of aggregate required for the construction of a house with (a) one, (b) two, (c) three and (d) four bedrooms.

The current national demand forecasts for aggregates were published in 2003 as ‘National and Regional Guidelines for Aggregates Provision in England, 2001-16’. The forecasts are derived from a number of variables, including commercially available forecasts of construction activity. These include an element for house-building, which is currently around 180,000 units a year. The increase in net additions may not equate to a proportionate addition in requirements for primary aggregates. This is because:

net additions covering some conversions and changes of use categories which may require less aggregate;

the possibility that alternative aggregate could be used for some new houses;

the possibility that the increase in new house building would substitute construction activity away from other projects which use aggregates.

The Department is committed to monitoring annually the aggregates guidelines. The guidelines will be revised downwards or upwards in the light of any changes in forecasts of construction activity.

Although the Department has not estimated the average amount of aggregate required for the construction of a new house, the European Commission has estimated that to build a new home requires around 400 tonnes of aggregates (Commission Staff Working Document, ‘Analysis of the competitiveness of the non-energy extractive industry in the EU’. June 2006).