Plastic £5 notes are going into circulation in Britain for the first time

Two million £5 polymer notes are being issued by the Clydesdale Bank

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The Independent Online

Two million £5 notes made of polymer plastic are being released by The Clydesdale Bank this month as a safer and more durable alternative to paper banknotes.

The limited edition notes are going into the system a year before the Bank of England issues its first set of plastic banknotes for general circulation.

Its design celebrates the 125th anniversary of the Forth Bridge, and its nomination for inclusion in Unesco’s World Heritage List 2014, with a portrait of the engineer Sir William Arrol.

PolymerFiver.jpg
The design of the polymer £5 note celebrates the 125th anniversary of the Forth Bridge.

The Bank of England plans to introduce plastic bank notes from 2016 with a new £5 note featuring Sir Winston Churchill. A £10 note will follow a year later, featuring Jane Austen.

The polymer bank note is smaller than its paper equivalent. Clydesdale’s version uses a ‘Spark Orbital’ security feature: a special ink in the shape of Scotland over a transparent window, which changes colour as the note is moved and tilted.

Plastic bank notes fit in cash machines like paper ones, but they are considerably more durable and should last 2.5 times longer.

Clydesdale Bank is the largest issuer by volume of notes in Scotland. It introduces around £400 million of new notes every year and reached the milestone of having more than £2 billion worth of notes in circulation on a single day, earlier this year.

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