The “market study” will check for anti-competitive practices and evaluate whether aggregates cost too much.
Heather Clayton, Senior Director of Infrastructure, said: “In the present climate, well-functioning markets are even more important to help spur economic growth.
“Aggregates is an important sector in its own right but it is also part of the larger construction industry which plays a key role in the country’s economy.
“Because the cost of aggregates is reflected in the price consumers, and tax payers, pay for essential infrastructure, from housing through to roads and major capital building projects, it is important that the market is as competitive as possible.”
The OFT will be speaking with key parties directly. Others who wish to make a submission should send their written views by email to: [email protected]
Submissions must be received by 15 October 2010. The market study is expected to be completed by July 2011.
Trade body the Mineral Products Association said: “We will be happy to cooperate fully with the Office of Fair Trading market study into aggregates announced today.
“We are confident that the operation of the current mineral planning system will be proven to be sound and critical to the construction and manufacturing industries which depend upon these essential supplies.
“The system has a proven track record of delivering a steady and adequate supply of aggregates over the last 35 years throughout periods of recession and growth.
“The current system originated in 1975 as a result of Sir Ralph Verney’s Royal Commission and has generally worked well since.”