A European Commission survey has revealed strong public support for measures to cut down on the number of plastic bags handed out.

The consultation, which took place last year, asked if charging and taxation was needed to reduce plastic bag use, or if an EU-wide ban would be more effective. Just over half of the respondents (52.85%) strongly agreed that an EU-wide ban was needed, while 65% agreed that measures such as a levy were needed to cut down on the number of bags used.

A European Commission spokeswoman said it was still considering the options available to reduce the environmental impact of plastic bags. Work to cut down on bag use has already been set in motion across the UK. Wales introduced a 5p levy for single-use bags last October, while the Northern Ireland Assembly has announced a 5p charge from April 2013 which will rise to 10p in 2014. Scottish environment secretary Richard Lochhead and Mayor of London Boris Johnson both recently suggested charges to help reduce the number of bags used.

The Republic of Ireland introduced a 15p levy in 2002 that has reduced bag use by 90%.