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Historically, woody hemp ‘hurds’ or ‘shiv’, which constitute the inner stem of the plant, have been mixed with lime to create a concrete-like building material. This method dates back to Roman times, in particular France, where archaeologists discovered a bridge constructed in this fashion perfectly preserved as the hemp hurds and lime had petrified into a mineral-like state.

France is very much an advocate of the widespread, and sometimes surprising, uses of hemp; it is estimated that France cultivates around 50% of the European hemp crop and this enthusiasm is very much in evidence across their construction industry with ever more people recognising its advantages in this sphere. Of course, hemp’s demise from 1937 onward has somewhat hindered its modern development, but as awareness increases this ancient plant is once again justifying its place at the forefront of current innovation.