Consumers are opposed to the "nanny state" approach of imposing charges to cut plastic bag usage, a poll by researchers Ipsos Mori has shown.
The study found that although 57% of those polled agreed it was right for retailers to charge for bags, 52% felt that they should be able to make up their own minds about the issue.
Well over half of the sample (59%) said they would rather bring their own bag than pay for one, although this was unpopular with city dwellers who felt it would be impractical.
The survey also found that 35% of people believed it would be wrong for the government to ban retailers from giving bags away free.
Meanwhile, 74% said that money raised from charging should go to charity - this rose to 84% for 15- to 24-year-olds, and was shared even by those who disagreed with the principle of charging for bags.