Department store Debenhams is the latest retailer to join the plastic bag campaign and will start charging 5p for carrier bags.

Debenhams will try out several schemes and is the first of the fashion retailers to opt for a charge on plastic bags. A Debenhams spokesman told The Daily Mail: “We are working on several proposals, including offering reusable cotton bags and charging for carrier bags. We are about to conduct trials in a small number of stores to gauge customer reaction.”

Debenhams head of investor relations Lisa Williams said that abolishing free bags was more difficult when dealing with fashion rather than products like food, but added: “We all realise we have to do something. We are really committed to reducing our impact on the environment.”

DIY chain B&Q intends to levy a 5p charge following successful trials in Scotland and the Northeast. Ikea, Aldi, Lidl and Netto have all charged for bags for several years.