UK imports record number of bricks leading to rising carbon costs

The UK is importing a record number of bricks while the carbon cost is increasing due to Brexit, according to a report.

A report in the Guardian reveals the UK is the number one country in the world for importing bricks, according to figures from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Observatory of Economic Complexity.

The data reveals that more than 500m bricks were imported to the UK in 2022, leading to carbon emissions of 288,190 tonnes.

Experts are now urging the UK to manufacture more domestically.


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Keith Aldis, the chief executive of the Brick Development Association, told the Guardian the UK has the facilities to produce enough without needing imports.

He said: “We actually make about 2bn bricks a year from 50 factories dotted around the UK. The UK is Europe’s largest market and is self-sufficient in manufacturing capability, with virtually unlimited clay and water resources.”

Between 2020 and 2022, carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) from transporting imports to the UK increased by 54%. The steep rise is due to an increase in importing the concrete blocks from beyond Europe, due to Brexit, the research shows.

Specifically, the total number of bricks imported from outside the EU was 50m in 2022, considerably higher than the 3m imported from outside the EU in 2015.

Climate crisisNature and the environmentNet zeroPolicySocial sustainability

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