The poll of 1,752 English adults found that 56% agreed a 5p carrier bag charge was not unreasonable even in a time of austerity, as it had been proved to reduce litter and waste, although a quarter disagreed.

The "break the bag habit" coalition of conservation and anti-litter groups wants the Government in England to bring in a charge on plastic bags, which they say end up littering the streets, countryside and beaches or damaging marine wildlife.

The latest figures showed the number of carrier bags being given out by supermarkets rose by more than 5% last year across the UK, the second annual rise in a row, with customers using almost eight billion carrier bags in 2011.

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