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The National Trust is introducing a new charge for plastic bags in its shops and plant centres to generate funds for conservation work and research into climate change.

It has announced its plan for a 5p charge in its 220 shops in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to reduce the number of plastic bags that end up in landfill sites.

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

The trust estimates that more than 12m people visit its pay-for-entry properties and 50m visit its open air establishments a year.

RecycleNow estimates that more than 10m carrier bags are produced each year in the UK and 100,000 tonnes of plastic bags are thrown away, which it says is the same weight as 70,000 cars.

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