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Asphalt - On the road to further innovation and growth

Our asphalt business is busy responding to a variety of customer demands for new mixes to address specific requirements such as greater permeability and better water drainage and products that reduce CO² emissions by using less fuel and reduced energy consumption in its production and laying.

This push towards more sustainable products doesn’t surprise General Manager Juliet Sargant, who says: 

"Asphalt has always been a very technical product
and as a ‘live’ material we are always looking to
improve performance and results. We work very
closely with many of our long-term customers to
ensure we stay ahead of their requirements such
as working closely with the National Highways
Authority who have a ‘Net Zero’ target."

You may be surprised to learn that Brett has been offering asphalt since 1928, when Robert Brett first developed the business in the Canterbury area. Since then the business has gone from strength to strength with asphalt plants at the docks at Ridham and at Whitstable Harbour serving largely local government and housing development companies in the surrounding areas. Juliet explains that the asphalt business works alongside customers on site and as a result has built a really good reputation throughout Kent. 


Mike Reynolds – Assistant Production Manager, Charlie Leithead (Contractor) - Operative, Garry Thelwell - Operative, Steve Thompson – Operative / Maintenance Fitter and Juliet Sargant – Asphalt General Manager

A team of ten skilled operators and technical people run these two plants led by Mike Reynolds and Russ Spooner and supported by a small admin team at Whitstable. The team has recently been joined by commercial and sales graduate Mario Nkegbe after a placement in Aggregates earlier this year. Mario says:

“It’s very rewarding learning about the asphalt business as it’s a live product which means we have to deliver the right amount to an agreed time or the product goes off. The business has grown 25% over the last five years and there’s no sign of that slowing down which, together with the new mixes, means there’s always a new challenge to deliver.”


Michael Sinclair - Operative, Andy Back - Supervisor, Lisa De Luca – Weighbridge Operator, Russ Spooner - Production Manager

One of these new products, available from September 2022, is a warm-mix asphalt produced at both plants which is mixed at a temperature 30 to 40 degrees lower than traditional asphalt materials. This means using less fuel and reducing energy consumption, resulting in less CO² emissions which helps customers achieve their sustainability targets and also a safer and more comfortable working environment. Additionally, sites can be opened up more quickly thanks to the warm-mix asphalt being lower in temperature, allowing it to set quicker.


As an important part of the local community, Juliet and the team get involved in events and Harbour Day in Whitstable is a regular date in the diary. They have also held Open Days recently at Ridham to allow customers and their neighbours to see what goes on behind the scenes and learn more about how asphalt is produced.

Juliet, who joined the business in 2017 also sits on various industry committees such as the Mineral Product Association’s Asphalt and Asphalt Industry Alliance PR Committees. “It’s important to stay up to date on the influences and innovations impacting on the asphalt market as our product can be found in every developed area of the UK. Our products ensure roads are safe to drive on and that many community areas and public spaces are accessible for everyone.”

So what’s next for asphalt? “We plan to continue to grow of course,” says Juliet. “Building on the relationships we currently have to serve more local needs across the County. Every town and city and the transport networks in between require asphalt and recent investments by the Brett Group such as new equipment and a new weighbridge, mean we have the capacity to continue to grow.