Our environmental and social values have manifested in different forms across our factories depending on the raw materials used, prevailing environmental conditions at the site and the unique characteristics of the production process. Some of our factories are located at sites where manufacturing can be traced back over 150 years and they continue to play an important role in the local economy.
In 1996 Denton became the first brick factory in the world to be certified to the Environmental Management System standard ISO 14001.
As local reserves of Boulder clay have become exhausted following generations of brick manufacturing, raw materials are now imported mainly from Wienerberger’s quarry in Glossop. Denton is extremely proactive in the development of products that incorporate materials from alternative, recycled and secondary sources, which continue to extend remaining clay and shale reserves.
Wienerberger’s Ewhurst site extends more than 350 acres, including large areas of woodland and farmland in addition to the factory and adjacent quarry. Ewhurst’s quarry is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for its geological characteristics and was the source of two of the most significant finds of dinosaur remains in the UK – the unique Baryonyx Walkeri (a fish eating dinosaur) and also the most complete Iguanodon ever found in the UK which was discovered in 2001. These dinosaurs are housed at the Natural History Museum in London.
Ewhurst brickworks has an active Liaison Committee that exchange views with the wider local community and discuss any issues and activities concerning the site.
Hartlebury & Kingsbury
Brick production at the Hartlebury site near Kidderminster can be traced back to the 1840’s and the site has two production lines: one producing soft mud bricks and another producing extruded wirecut bricks which was added in 1985. The extruded brick production line is one of the most energy efficient facilities in the UK. Given their close proximity, a combined community liaison committee for Hartlebury and Waresley has proved to be a useful forum for communication between the site’s stakeholders.
In 2011 major investment was made in a new tunnel kiln at Kingsbury for the firing of blue bricks to significantly improve the energy efficiency of the process, incorporating the latest generation of kiln technology. Part of the quarry at Kingsbury is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to geological features and this area is also classified as a Regionally Important Geological Site (RIGS) site.
The Sandown works in Aldridge, near Walsall was built in 1987 and has proved to be one of the most efficient and successful brick factories of its era. The energy consumption and CO2 emissions of the factory are amongst the lowest in the UK and in Europe. The site has excellent links to the local community and a programme of working with local schools on a number of engagement initiatives.
The Smeed Dean works in Sittingbourne has been in operation since the 1840’s making traditional London Stock bricks and is now the only major brick production factory in the county of Kent.
The characteristic ‘iron spotting’ of these bricks is created using Town Ash, a recycled material with an interesting history:
In the 19th century the bricks were transported to London by barge from a wharf adjacent to the works and the ballast for the return journeys was the ash from the capital’s fireplaces. This Town Ash was stockpiled on the site and is still used to this day in small quantities as an important raw material in our distinctive bricks.
Smeed Dean uses abstracted water from an onsite borehole which minimises the use of mains water in the production process. The northern site extent forms part of The Swale SSSI. Parts of the site also fall within the wider Ramsar designated area for wetlands of international importance, and a Special Protection Area (SPA) for the conservation of wild birds.
Todhills & Warseley
The Todhills factory mainly uses shales from adjacent land (less than 500m from the factory). Material was previously extracted from the Clarence Farm quarry, which closed in 2005 and has now been successfully restored to agricultural use.
Since 2004 Waresley has been using electricity from generators fuelled by landfill gas, emitted from the adjacent waste disposal site. Given their close proximity, a combined community liaison committee for Waresley and Hartlebury has proved to be a useful forum for communication between a variety of the site’s stakeholders.
Bricks produced at the Warnham factory were the first clay brick products to attain the BES 6001 certification for Responsible Sourcing in 2009.
Clay is sourced from Langhurstwood quarry approximately three kilometres from the site. However, the raw material is transported by conveyor to the factory, avoiding the use of vehicular transport on local roads. This quarry is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest for its geological features and the quarry site also includes areas of ecological interest which are carefully managed.
Electricity consumed at the Warnham site is supplied by generators fuelled by landfill gas from the adjacent site operated by Biffa Waste Services in partnership with West Sussex County Council. Warnham uses water supplied from lagoons on site, reducing the need for mains quality water in the brickmaking process. Warnham also holds community liaison meetings to maintain regular communication and foster good relationships with local residents, councillors and regulatory bodies.
Sandtoft & Goxhill
Both of our Sandtoft and Goxhill concrete roof tile factories use a mixture of mains and harvested rainwater for the production process. The sites produce very little process waste as both wet and dry concrete is recycled back into the production line. Both sites are also able to directly recycle the grey water produced during the manufacturing process.
Broomfleet & Heckmondwike
As the clay reserves at Broomfleet are only extracted to shallow depth, we have been able to restore quarried areas to create wildlife havens and fishing ponds. The RSPB visit our site to conduct bird surveys as the restoration attracts a variety of species. The lagoons at Broomfleet are also an important water resource for manufacturing, as the supply of rainwater captured in the lagoons provides Broomfleet with a reliable supply of non-mains water for clay roof tile production at the site.
The slates produced at Heckmondwike contain a large amount of recycled material from Welsh slate production. Heckmondwike receive the recovered slate in a ground powdered form which is mixed with a resin binder before being pressed into tile moulds. The result is a low water, low energy manufacturing process producing durable roof tiles with high recycled content.