The environmental impact of different car park surfacing options

The environmental impact is an important consideration when deciding which car park surfacing material will best suit your project. Since cars and vehicles already contribute to environmental degradation, creating a more sustainable car park space is a good way to begin offsetting these effects. This blog will highlight the impact on the environment of some of the most popular car park surfacing materials: tarmac, asphalt, gravel, resin-bound, and concrete.


While tarmac has traditionally been considered a surfacing material with negative environmental connotations, many tarmac manufacturers and tarmac surfacing contractors are working hard to adopt new sustainable practices. This might mean using recycled materials in tarmac production, introducing environmentally friendly production processes, and finding new ways to minimise waste and emissions.

Unfortunately, tarmac surfaces are impervious and unable to absorb water. This means that without a vertical flow to an efficient drainage system, run-off carrying chemicals, pollutants, and oils can flow into nearby bodies of water and cause water pollution.

If you’re using tarmac in your next car park surfacing project, it’s important to consider a proper drainage solution. Our team experts at A&MT can help with that.


Asphalt is environmentally friendly in that it can be recycled and used again as many times as you like. This, in turn, greatly reduces your environmental footprint. However, similar to tarmac, asphalt is impermeable, so we recommended designing an efficient drainage system to reduce the risk of flooding and disrupting any local wildlife habitats.


Gravel is one of the most eco-friendly materials for car park surfacing. The porous nature of gravel creates a perfect surface for efficient drainage, enabling rainwater to infiltrate the sub-base. Naturally, this characteristic has a great environmental impact, as the organic infiltration of rainwater not only promotes sustainable urban development but also reduces the risk of flooding.


Another permeable material with positive environmental benefits is resin-bound gravel. This car park surfacing material is SUDS compliant, so it can significantly reduce the risk of flooding. Similar to traditional gravel, resin-bound surfaces can reduce stormwater run-off that can cause erosion and water pollution and can help recharge groundwater by moderating temperature extremes and filtering harmful surface pollutants.


Concrete is arguably the surfacing material that has the most harmful impact on the environment. The hard surface of concrete enables negative stormwater run-off, while cement production releases a large amount of CO2 into the atmosphere. Non-renewable energy resources like coal and natural gases are also used in the manufacturing of concrete. If you’re looking for environmentally friendly material for your new car park surfacing project, we would recommend looking outside of concrete.

Not sure which surfacing material is the right option?

A&MT are professional groundworks contractors with expertise in laying tarmac, asphalt, drainage solutions, and much more. If we don’t think the material you’ve suggested for your car park surfacing project will be the best fit, our team of experts will suggest a more suitable alternative for the work.