Cadbury, Kellogg and General Mills have become among 40 food and drink companies in the UK to sign an industry pledge to make "fewer and friendlier food transport miles", it was announced today (15 July).

Companies including Associated British Foods and Mars have also signed a "ten-point checklist" to move towards a cut in the impact of domestic food transport on the environment in the UK.

The pledge was signed through the UK's Food and Drink Federation and is a bid to meet a government-backed target of reducing the "environmental and social impacts" of food transport by 20% in four years compared to 2002 levels.

The measures, which include maximising vehicle loading and the use of rail and shipping, were backed by UK government ministers.

Transport minister Jim Fitzpatrick said: "Protecting the environment and developing sustainable transport systems, especially where distribution is concerned, are very topical issues and especially important for us at the Department for Transport."

Kellogg said it would push the UK government for changes to transport regulations in order to help reduce the number of road miles it uses.

"We have written to the Government to improve the movement of freight from road to rail, particularly to help European movement of goods and we will push for new laws for longer lorries to dramatically reduce road miles by up to 25%," said Kellogg UK managing director Greg Peterson.