Fear of food shortages at Christmas

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With the arrival of a new virus, the UK is becoming increasingly isolated. The grounding in air traffic is congesting airports and disrupting cargo traffic, in part due to Britain’s exit from the European…

Carbon footprint of Cornish pasties revealed

Cornish pasties have a 2kg carbon footprint according to Exeter University researchers (Image: Cornish Pasty Association)

Every traditional Cornish pasty consumed produces up to 2kg of carbon, a new tool developed by university researchers has revealed.

There are 120 million Cornish pasties made annually and according to researchers at the University of Exeter each one produces around 1.5-2kg of carbon – though their carbon footprint can be halved if the traditional beef filling is replaced with a vegan or vegetarian alternative.

According to the researchers the whole pasty industry contributes up to 240,000 tonnes of carbon a year.

The researchers made the finding using a new tool that measures the carbon footprint of Cornish pastiesas a way to encourage producers to think of ways to reduce their carbon footprint.

The Carbon and Low Impact Pasty (CLIP) tool measures the carbon emissions of the ingredients that make up a Cornish pasty as well as factoring in transportation, freezing and the energy and water used to make it.

Cornish pasties in all their glory (Image: Elliott White) 

Whether the pasty had beef inside contributed most to its carbon footprint, and where the beef came from was also important, with Brazilian beef 10% more carbon intensive than European beef due to factors including the potential for deforestation.

Freezing was also a significant factor, with a pasty frozen for six months having a 20% higher carbon footprint than one frozen for only a week.

Dr Xiaoyu Yan, senior lecturer in energy and environment at the University of Exeter, developed the tool as part of Agri Tech Cornwall programme with colleagues from Tevi, an initiative led by the University of Exeter that aims to create economic and environmental growth in Cornwall.

Dr Yan said: “I’m in Cornwall and I love pasties, but the reason I want to look at this is not so much for the pasties but because I think they are an iconic, traditional type of processed food that has the potential to raise people’s awareness of embedded carbon in food products.

“Usually what people see in the news is about the carbon in raw ingredients really but there’s very little out there for processed food like a pasty or even a pizza or other types of ready-made foods.

A pasty being crimped by hand (Image: Simon Burt/Apex) 

“It’s quite difficult to get a number because you need to know exactly what’s in there and how it’s produced and how they’re transported and stored. That’s why we want to look at such a product to help people to understand the complexity of the processed food we’re dealing with today.”

Using the tool developed by Dr Yan’s team researchers were able to examine the environmental impact of different business models, as smaller pasty producers tend to tailor their production to seasonal demand, while bigger firms often over-produce pasties and freeze those they don’t need.

Transporting a pasty by lorry to another town or city also increases its carbon footprint – but not significantly.

The researchers compared the carbon footprint of pasties transported locally (25km) to those that have transported 500km across the country and beyond to Europe (2,000km).

They found that travelling 500km increased the carbon footprint of a pasty by only 1%, and the long haul journey of 2,000km saw carbon emissions rise just 5-6%.

The tool will be made available free of charge to Cornwall’s pasty makers, and the research team has already received positive feedback from those manufacturers that have already used it.

The carbon footprint of a pasty was found to be relatively low compared with other foods – a roast dinner can produce up to 3.2kg of carbon, and a lasagne is 5kg.

Cornish pasties contribute £300 million each year to Cornwall and have iconic status, so the research team wanted pasty makers to be able to gain an accurate picture of the true environmental impact of the regional delicacy.

Dr Yan said the tool had been developed as one aspect of a wider research programme that looks at the social, ecological and economic dimensions of food products and of reimagines how food systems work within regional settings.

Professor Steffen Boehm, professor in organisation and sustainability at the University of Exeter Business School, who is leading the programme, said: “By using the CLIP tool Cornish pasty manufacturers will have the ability to select the best food from an environmental perspective by providing clear information on the true environmental impacts incurred at every stage, including production, manufacture, processing, transport, storage and disposal.”

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Des Walker exclusive: How it really felt to play for Brian Clough – and why I loved driving lorries

It was the soundtrack to one of English football’s most gilded careers, from Nottingham Forest and Sheffield Wednesday, to 59 games for England: “You’ll never beat Des Walker.”

Never mind beating him, there was also a good chance you would never meet Walker. For a man who tasted some of the greatest highs in the game – Wembley final wins at Forest, a World Cup semi-final and a stint in Serie A – Walker was notoriously publicity-shy, knocking away interview requests like a cautious opening batsman.

And yet here he is, still lean and fit aged 55, standing on the touchline at Manchester City’s academy stadium, chatting away about everything from Brian Clough[1] to the art of defending and his days as perhaps the world’s most unlikely lorry driver.

This is a rare opportunity to enter Walker’s world and it seems there is only one place to start: how did one of England’s most masterful centre-backs, whose athletic excellence at his peak would have been a welcome addition to Gareth Southgate’s squad at the European Championship this summer, end up chugging up and down Britain’s motorways?

“I did the running for Nestle, and drove for nearly five years,” he says. “I’d left Forest [in January 2005, after Joe Kinnear was sacked] and I was driving all over the place. When I was a youngster in London I used to live two doors up from the Coca-Cola factory. I used to watch the lorry driver reversing into this tight spot countless times and remember being amazed at how he did it.

“When I was in my mid-twenties at Forest, I was bored one summer and I took my Class One HGV [exam]. I also took the motorbike and bus ones, just to fill my licences up and have all the ticks.”

Walker is warming to his theme, his boyish enthusiasm belying his grey hairs. “I always drove ‘artics’ [articulated lorries], you know,” he says.

Lorry-driving might have become an unlikely second career for Walker, but there is no doubt how he will be remembered by the majority of football fans of a certain vintage – a Rolls-Royce of a defender, ruthlessly efficient, utterly reliable, and who seemed to have an inbuilt radar for sniffing out danger.

He found defending so effortless he could have been puffing on a cigar, although he was actually more likely to be found pulling on a cigarette when not on the field – his heavy smoking a nod to an age when such habits were not considered a problem, even for elite athletes.

He carved out his reputation at Forest, under Clough, but actually made more appearances for Wednesday. In 1990, he was crucial for England as they reached the World Cup semi-finals before that gut-wrenching defeat by Germany on penalties.

Walker in action for Nottingham Forest against Notts County in 1984

Walker in action for Nottingham Forest against Notts County in 1984


“My whole career was a highlight,” he says. “I’d like to think anyone who watched me play long enough would think, ‘He consistently did his job’. It’s easy to play 10 games a season and do well. If you do well for 60, or 70 games, then that’s something else.

“It’s what I was paid to do and I was the professional doing my job. I can hold my head up high and say I gave my best every time I went out on the field. Forest fans, especially, and Wednesday fans, hold me in esteem because they think I gave everything for their club. Even in my late thirties I gave everything. If people look back on that, I’m happy.”

It is unquestionably at Forest where Walker will be remembered. He lifted two League Cups, in 1989 and 1990, and played in the 1991 FA Cup final against Tottenham Hotspur, when he suffered the misfortune of heading the crucial goal into his own net.

There is also the famous moment of Walker’s only senior goal, against Luton Town in 1992, when he made a rare foray up front to crash a shot past Steve Sutton – on loan from Forest at the time – in the final seconds.

Off the field, he was never flash, despite being once described by Roy Keane as “a world-class playboy and the man for the night-time adventures”. Indeed, former team-mates remember him driving into the club in a sponsored Skoda.

The respect between Walker and Clough, his manager, flowed both ways. After matches, Clough would untie Walker’s boots and take them off, turning to the dressing room to say: “If you lot play like Desmond, I’ll take your boots off as well.”

Walker played under other managers, including Sir Bobby Robson and Sven-Goran Eriksson, but nobody came close to Clough. “Best manager I ever had, by a long way,” Walker says. “Simple and effective. He didn’t ask you to do something you weren’t good at, you had to do what you were good at. You had to have courage to play for him. You had to be able to make a mistake and get on with it.

“I went there as a 16-year-old and he made me grow up in one year. He taught me to be a man, he didn’t teach me to be a good player.”

Brian Clough and assistant Peter Taylor on the sidelines at Anfield in 1978

Brian Clough and assistant Peter Taylor on the sidelines at Anfield in 1978

Credit: PA

A few hundred yards away from where Walker is speaking, Pep Guardiola has just lifted the Premier League title. Whereas Champions League success continues to elude Guardiola with City, Clough led Forest to successive European Cups.

“Great managers can manage players, whatever the age or era,” Walker says. “Cloughie would adjust to anything[2]. He’d still have his character if he was managing now, but you wouldn’t have the lifespan of management if he couldn’t adapt. Football has always changed, it’s not been the last 10 years you know? He could manage anywhere in the world.”

Walker is now doing some coaching of his own, working alongside Dennis Wise[3] in charge of Garuda Select, a UK-based academy for young Indonesian footballers.

He has had the role for three years, after leaving a similar position with Derby County’s academy, and during our chat in Manchester he is keeping one eye on his charges, playing a few yards away.

“I never thought about coaching as a player,” he says. “I played with players who were taking their badges. Brian Laws at Forest was one and I always remember Cloughie saying to him, ‘Son, what are you going to teach them, how to tackle badly?’

“After I’d retired, everyone was saying I should coach or manage. I always thought that the right thing would come along for me. Whether you’re coaching a top team or not, coaching is coaching. My knowledge of the game will come out wherever I am.”

Walker and Wise are charged with the task of discovering young Indonesian footballers and the work is already paying off. Two players have signed for European clubs and eight are playing in the Indonesian top flight. “I’d been working with youngsters at Derby anyway and if you see the improvement in a player, that is the reward,” Walker says.

“Technically they are very good, but in terms of the game understanding they are behind Europe. That’s my job as a coach. Some take it on quicker than others, but they are a pleasure to train. I can only live for tomorrow. I don’t look back on anything, I can’t live yesterday. Football for me as a player is over.”

And with that, Walker is off.


  1. ^ chatting away about everything from Brian Clough (
  2. ^ Cloughie would adjust to anything (
  3. ^ alongside Dennis Wise (
  4. ^ Des Walker coaching (

Live updates as three-lorry crash causes ten miles of traffic on M1

There is currently a stationary traffic queue of nine miles following a crash on the M1[1].

The motorway is closed northbound between Junction 28 for Matlock and Junction 29 for Chesterfield and Mansfield following an accident involving a lorry and a car.

Details of any injuries are not yet known, but the accident has caused long delays on the motorway.

As well as a crash, there appears to have been a fuel spillage as well.

Highways England tweeted: “The #M1[2] northbound #J28[3] (#A38[4]#Derby[5]#Matlock[6]) to #J29[7] (#A617[8]#Chesterfield[9]) is currently CLOSED due to a collision and spillage at #J29[10]. Updates to follow. “

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