The National Trust (NT) today introduced a 5p fee on single-use plastic bags to discourage their use. About 13 billion free plastic bags, which can take 1,000 years to rot, are given out annually to UK shoppers.

Stuart Richards, head of commercial operations, said: ‘This is a major step for the National Trust, helping to cut the amount of waste that we generate and encouraging our 3.5 million members and our visitors to use reusable bags.’

The Trust currently gives away 1.25 million bags a year from its 220 shops. The money generated from the scheme will be spent on conservation work and climate change research.

Country Life’s 2006 manifesto called for a ban on plastic supermarket bags. Find an update to the manifesto here.

Earlier this year, Marks and Spencer started charging customers 5p a bag with all profits going to environmental charity

Groundwork. Towns like Modbury in Devon are taking the lead by completely banning the bags.

The NT is also encouraging the use of reusable bags by offering jute bags at a reduced price of £1.50 until July. The NT hopes this, along with the 5p charge for plastic bags, will mean less plastic bag pollution.

To comment on this article, use the comment box below, or email us at clonews@ipcmedia.com. Read more about the countryside.