Manchester MP and Councillors support Bee campaign at Bee Tea
A Manchester MP and members of Manchester City Council joined Friends of the Earth for a Bee Tea at the urban bee-friendly garden created for the Dig the City event. 
Bees are vital to our way of life – they pollinate our food, help keep our farms in business and help our gardens, parks and countryside to thrive.
Britain has over 250 bee species, but numbers have fallen dramatically in recent years, affected by disease, chemicals and habitat loss. Over the last 60 years a devastating 97 per cent of our important natural grasslands have been lost.
A new report from the University of Reading has shown that the North West now supports the only English population of the rare and declining Wall Mason Bee. 
Without bees, food prices will rise – pollination of UK crops by bees and other insects is worth over £500 million a year. It would cost the UK farming industry £1.8 billion to pollinate their crops by hand. 
Stephanie Lynch, Manchester Friends of the Earth’s Bee campaigner said:
“Dig the City has highlighted lots of ways that people can create bee-friendly habitats in their local areas. But we need the Government to implement a comprehensive Bee Action Plan to tackle all the major causes of bee decline nationwide, and it’s great to have the support of Sir Gerald Kaufman and other Greater Manchester MPs who’ve backed our campaign.
“Local authorities also have a vital role to play working with other organisations such as housing associations and Metrolink to create bee-friendly spaces and maintain our parks and gardens in ways which support wildlife“.
CONTACTS FOR COMMENTS
Stephanie Lynch, Manchester Friends of the Earth Bee Cause campaigner. Mobile: 07756 344263
Pete Abel, Manchester Friends of the Earth co-ordinator. Mobile: 07951 642858
Notes to Editors:
 The Bea Tea took places on Friday 9th August at the Bee-Friendly urban garden on New Cathedral Street between Marks & Spencers and Ted Baker. Dig the City website.
 See Friends of the Earth report highlighting plight of Wall-mason bee .
 Friends of the Earth is calling on the Government to act by adopting a comprehensive National Bee Action Plan. The Plan would make life better for bees by improving the way we farm our food and plan our towns and cities, and by making sure the Government has the experts it needs to protect our most threatened bees. Following Friends of the Earth campaigning, the Government announced in July that they will produce a “Pollinators Action Plan”.
Friends of the Earth is waiting for more detail on the Government’s plans, but believes the plan must include:
- A clear timetable for action must be set out. The action plan should be running by the spring of 2014.
- It must set clear and measurable targets for reversing the decline of bees and other pollinators
- The plan must involve other Government Departments, not just DEFRA.
- An initial Government assessment of the current situation, due to be published next week, must be far stronger than the earlier draft seen by Friends of the Earth
 Manchester Friends of the Earth is an award-winning environmental campaign group, raising awareness and lobbying for policy changes at a local, regional, national and international level. The group consists entirely of volunteers, and its campaigns are funded by membership fees and individual donations. Up-to-date information is available on the group’s website. Manchester Friends of the Earth is a Licensed Local Group of Friends of the Earth, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
 Manchester Friends of the Earth has endorsed Manchester: A Certain Future, an action plan for the city of Manchester to cut its carbon emissions by at least 41% by 2020. For more information, visit www.manchesterclimate.com