Phil Woolas claims renewable materials are the way forward. Manufacturers hit out at the prediction as a "sweeping statement"
Environment Minister, Phil Woolas, predicted the death of brick and concrete as building materials within the next twenty to thirty years.
Speaking at Ecobuild last week the Woolas said: “In the next twenty to thirty years, we won’t be using concrete and brick.” He also said the Government had invested millions in renewable materials research.
"We are looking to promote the benefits of renewable materials and technologies in the construction industry through our Renewable Fuels and Materials Programme. Timber frame construction materials and hemp and lime blocks are, in many instances, a good alternative to the traditional concrete slab or brick."
He also agreed that there should be provision to encourage renewable materials in the Code for Sustainable Homes. He went on to trumpet hemp's use in insulation, saying that it had a "huge potential".
If the Minister wants to imagine the world without bricks and concrete, he better imagine it fully and see what he can produce.
Diana Maxwell, British Cement Association
Angry responseThe claim by Woolas provoked an angry response from the industry. Diana Maxwell, head of public affairs at the British Concrete Association, said: "Cement is the essential ingredient in concrete. We can't understand a Minister who, with the overlap of Defra's duties, has responsibility for the future of sustainable constuction making such a sweeping statement. If he wants to imagine the world without bricks and concrete, he better imagine it fully and see what he can produce. Let him imagine a UK town without bricks or concrete and see what's left."
Katherina Lewis, marketing manager at the Brick Development Association, added: “Brick has been around for thousands of years, so it will have a place in the future. Buildings made of brick have been around for hundreds of years and will continue to be so for hundreds of years to come.”