The Bank of England is planning to replace the existing paper banknotes with polymer banknotes. The British central bank said that plastic notes are much more durable and secure than their paper counterparts. It has been considering and evaluating plastic banknotes for the past three years.

Bank of England

Bank of England wants public to approve it

However, the central bank won’t take the final decision without public support. The Bank of England will start a two-month consultation process immediately. It will make the proposed new notes available at shopping centers all over the country so that people can check them out.

BOE governor Mark Carney will make the final decision in December, reports BBC. Mr. Carney said plastic notes last six times longer than paper notes. The Bank of England said that, under test conditions, the new polymer notes don’t melt even at 120C, and they can easily weather washing machines. Though made from plastic, the new banknotes will be environment-friendly. That’s because their production doesn’t require the same intensity of water as paper note production.

However, the plastic banknote won’t be a reality until 2016. The Bank of England said that the £5 Winston Churchill note will be the first one to be switched over to plastic in 2016. The polymer Jane Austen £10 notes will be issued in 2017. If the polymer notes get a green signal, they will be 15% smaller in size. About a dozen countries including Australia, Canada, Singapore and Mexico have already been issuing plastic banknotes.

Bank of England won’t import plastic notes from China

Patrick Collinson of the leading British daily The Guardian said that manufacturing of the polymer notes will be 50 percent more expensive than paper notes. But the Bank of England will generate about £100 million because plastic notes will last longer, eliminating the need for frequent replacements.

However, the Bank of England said that it won’t import plastic banknotes from China at any cost. The new notes are likely to be produced at the central bank’s own plant in Debden, Essex. Though the Bank of England could subcontract the process to a private firm, such as Innovia or De La Rue. Innovia is the world’s largest manufacturer of plastic banknotes.