A YORK MP has backed Friends of the Earth campaigners as they highlight the “alarming” decline in the UK’s bee population.

The group launched its Bee Cause drive, which has now been supported by more than 80,000 people, last year and has called on the Government to introduce a national action plan to ensure the insects have enough flowers to feed on and places to nest.

They also want to see a reduction in chemicals which are harmful to bees and for all species to be protected, regardless of whether they make honey.

York Central MP Hugh Bayley joined the campaigners – and a giant bumble bee character – at the House of Commons to voice his own concerns.

Mr Bayley said: “Bees are an iconic part of the countryside and play a vital role in pollinating crops and flowers.

“I have been pressing the Government for months to introduce a National Bee Action Plan to improve the health of our bees, and just before Christmas I wrote about pesticides which are thought to be harming bees. I will continue to do all I can to help protect Britain’s bees.”

Andy Atkins, Friends of the Earth’s executive director, said he was “delighted” to receive Mr Bayley’s support. He said: “Bees are under severe threat and need all the support they can get.”