Forecasters have predicted that the building materials industry is on course to meet growing demand from construction projects after brick production reached its highest level for eight years.

According to figures from the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills, brick manufacturing soared last year to hit peaks unseen since 2007.

There was a 7% increase in the number of bricks produced during 2014 last year, taking the total to around the two million mark.

And the figures also show that the use of imported materials continued to drop, with 50% fewer bricks coming from overseas in the third quarter of last year than the same period in 2014.

Experts attributed the rise to a growth in productivity and the reopening of mothballed factories, such as those in Ewhurst, Surrey, and Accrington in Lancashire.

It comes after concerns were raised by a number of industry bodies that a shortage of bricks could hold back efforts to get Britain building.

In its State of Trade survey from April last year, the Federation of Master Builders reported that half of small and medium-sized building firms were struggling to get hold of bricks without delays of up to two months.

But Michael Ankers, chairman of the Brick Development Association, said the boom meant the industry was set to meet the need for building materials in the construction sector.

He said: “This significant increase in brick production follows the reopening of a number of plants and improved productivity at many others. Imports are falling significantly and stocks are at a more appropriate level for the current activity in the UK construction industry.

“The challenges the brick industry faced in 2014 when there was a dramatic increase in house-building are now behind us and the industry is confident it can meet the growing demand for its products in housing and other construction projects.”