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Twenty-five years of green innovation at Ettingshall

Opened in 1998, Tarmac’s technical centre and laboratory in Ettingshall is celebrating its silver jubilee Opened in 1998, Tarmac’s technical centre and laboratory in Ettingshall is celebrating its silver jubilee

Tarmac’s technical centre and laboratory in Wolverhampton celebrates its silver jubilee

A NATIONALLY significant technical centre in Wolverhampton which created glow-in-the-dark pavements and was the first in the UK to develop low-carbon materials is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

Tarmac opened the technical centre and laboratory in Ettingshall in 1998 to develop innovative construction materials and to contribute to the evolution of standards in the UK construction industry.


Now, as the centre celebrates its silver jubilee, its work remains focused on creating the next generation of innovative, green construction materials to support the transition to net zero and tackle climate change.

Located on the site of Tarmac’s former UK headquarters, the centre and laboratory were the first to pioneer warm-mix asphalt, which reduces carbon emissions and can be laid quicker to reduce roadworks for the travelling public.

As well as developing road surfacing with used tyres, Tarmac’s team of seven in the technical centre, alongside 12 laboratory-based technical experts, also created glow-in-the dark asphalt to improve visibility of footpaths and cycle trails.

The technical centre is a key component of Tarmac’s customer offer, with its work being key in major projects such as the resurfacing of Silverstone and Brands Hatch race circuits and Heathrow and Glasgow airports, as well as developing test tracks for product testing at Jaguar Land Rover and at Catesby Tunnel.

Commemorating the quarter-century milestone, Brian Kent, Tarmac’s national technical director, said: ‘Innovative materials developed in the Ettingshall laboratory are being used all over the UK and continue to shape our national built environment. With many of our highly skilled team working at this site since 1998, it’s a real pleasure to lead what is one of the UK’s main centres of excellence for construction materials.

‘Our innovations are invariably industry leading and our laboratory remains at the cutting edge of developing construction solutions that are ready for a net-zero world.’

The technical centre also continues to help train the next generation of materials experts, both customer and education based. Through a partnership with the University of Wolverhampton, for the first time since Covid-19 restrictions eased, Tarmac’s technical team helped to train 10 civil engineering students in the latest materials for UK infrastructure – bridging the gap between theoretical learning and real-world applications.

Commenting on the importance of the facility and the partnership with Tarmac, Dr Paul Hampton, head of the School of Architecture and Built Environment at the University of Wolverhampton, said: ‘The technical centre in Ettingshall is a great example of the rich construction heritage of Wolverhampton.

‘Our partnership with the Tarmac technical team continues to provide a fantastic training opportunity for local students to learn through a variety of courses, including Degree Apprenticeships, about materials before they embark on careers in construction – with some of them securing professional and chartered accreditation status. We look forward to continuing to work in partnership with them and seeing what innovation comes from the centre in years to come.’


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