The Bank of England has announced that starting in 2016 it will issue printed polymer banknotes. The first will be a £5 polymer banknote, to be followed about one year later by a £10 banknote. The basis for the new banknotes is a transparent film of biaxially oriented PP that is marketed by Innovia Security, Craigieburn/Australia, under the brand name Guardian. The transparent film is first coated with an ink layer that enables it to carry the printed design features.
Over the course of a three-year research program, the Bank reached the conclusion that converting to the polymer film had decisive benefits. According to the study, polymer banknotes have greater resistance to dirt buildup and moisture. As a result, they remain cleaner longer than paper banknotes. Furthermore, the polymer banknotes offer greater security, since they incorporate additional security features, making them more difficult to counterfeit. A further argument for the polymer banknotes is the greater durability compared to paper. According to the information provided, polymer banknotes last at least twice as long as paper money.
Extensive surveys were conducted in the United Kingdom to assess acceptance of polymer banknotes by the general public. Of some 13,000 individuals surveyed, 87% preferred the polymer banknotes. The new banknotes will continue to be printed in an already existing printing facility in Debden, Essex. Innovia Security will set up a new plant in Wigton, Cumbria, to produce the biaxially oriented PP film for the new notes.
As the first country in the world, Australia introduced a complete set of polymer banknotes in 1996. In the meantime, Canada, Romania and Vietnam are issuing new banknotes only in polymer form. According to media reports, over 400 million polymer banknotes are circulating in Canada alone.
Innovia Security reaches agreement with Bank of England , Pressemitteilung der Innovia Security Pty Ltd, März 2014
New Bank of England banknotes to be printed on polymer , Pressemitteilung der Bank von England, Dezember 2013