The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has launched a market study into the aggregates sector. ‘Aggregates’ are granular material formed from a natural rock substance. They are used in the construction of homes and roads, and for producing ready-mixed concrete, concrete products, mortar and asphalt. The study has been prompted by submissions received from various parties in relation to five mergers reviewed by the OFT in the aggregates sector since 2004. It focuses on the relationship between the system of nationally managed aggregates supply, competition, investment and prices. The OFT will consider whether there are any distortions of competition, particularly between aggregates producers at the local level, and barriers to entry for primary (including crushed rock, sand and gravel) and secondary aggregates (e.g. by-products of industrial processes and mining activities, recycled construction and demolition waste). The study is expected to be completed by July 2011. Interested parties have until 15 October 2010 to respond to the consultation.