As well as campaigning and raising awareness, at Manchester FOE we have been supporting bees by creating more bee-friendly habitats around Greater Manchester and promoting bee-friendly rapeseed oil. Our campaigns cover three main areas: encouraging local councils and the Government to take action as part of the Bee Cause campaign, helping people find out how to buy bee-friendly rapeseed oil, and giving people advice on how to set up bee-friendly habitats.

Our native bee species in the UK have been in decline over recent years as a result of a number of social and environmental factors. Similar declines have been recorded all over the world, and some parts of China have already been forced to pollinate crops by hand.

Bees pollinate 75% of our crops and it has been estimated that it would cost British farmers and growers a whopping £1.8 billion to replace them with pollination by hand (assuming we can recruit enough farm workers to do this). Friends of the Earth set up the Bee Cause campaign to encourage the Government to put together a national Bee Action Plan to protect our native pollinators. This campaign was successful, as the National Pollinator Strategy was adopted in 2014.

Since then our job has been to help ensure that the Strategy is implemented, particularly regarding the use of pesticides, support for farmers and ensuring that local authorities adopt their own pollinator plans. There is still a lot of work to do here!

If you’d like to ask your local council to adopt a Pollinator Action plan, you can take part here (and you don’t have to live in Manchester to join in – this is a nationwide issue!)