Local councils will be able to identify areas where people could have difficulty accessing affordable and healthy food, thanks to a new tool launched by the National Consumer Council.

The food access radar, which has been developed by Staffordshire County Council and the NCC, uses postcodes, demographics and information on local food stores to pinpoint communities whose health could be at risk due to lack of access to healthy food.

Jillian Pitt, senior nutrition advisor for the NCC, said: "From this information, local councils could work with retailers to encourage free deliveries, internet access for online shopping and card voucher schemes. They could even work with bus companies to re-route buses to stop near stores selling healthy food."

Trials have already been completed in Oxfordshire, where principal trading standards officer Phil Owen said it had saved his council time and money and helped it to deliver improvements to local communities.