by the UK's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
(DEFRA) goes well with our previous post about the 100 miles diet
. The findings are not very surprising, but it's interesting to see some quantitative data: The cost of moving found around in the UK is as much as £9 billion a year ($15.7 billion), half of that due to traffic congestion. The quantity of food moved by truck has doubled since 1974 and the DEFRA reports that 25% of all miles covered by heavy goods traffic was to move food. "Consumers travel an average of 898 miles a year by car to shop for food [...] In 2002, food transport produced 19 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, of which 10 Million tonnes were emitted in the UK and 9 million tonnes were generated by food imports." The change from frequent shopping – on foot – in local shops to weekly shopping in supermarkets by car is a factor.The four key findings of the study are:
1. A single indicator based on total food kilometres is an inadequate indicator of sustainability.
2. Data is available to provide and update a meaningful set of indicators on an annual basis.
3. Food transport has significant and growing impacts.
4. The direct environmental, social and economic costs of food transport are over £9 billion each year, and are dominated by congestion.
You can read the full report here (in pdf format) for all the details.
::The Validity of Food Miles as an Indicator of Sustainable Development, via ::BBC