First fully polymer bank note unveiled

The Momentum UK Team 29 May 2014

The first fully polymer banknote to ever enter UK circulation was unveiled last week.

Introduced to commemorate the Forth Bridge’s nomination for the 2014 UNESCO World Heritage List, the new £5 notes will use iconic images of the bridge for a limited production. Timed for March 2015 to coincide with the 125th anniversary of the bridge’s opening, Clydesdale Bank will issue two million notes through their branches.

The new note is smaller than the existing £5 and has been designed by De La Rue plc on their innovative Safeguard polymer substrate substance - a first for Europe. Proven to be more durable than existing currency, no decision has been made on whether polymer notes will be rolled-out, but it is known that many banks are considering using the polymer substance instead of the traditional cotton-based substrate.

Debbie Crosbie, Executive Director at Clydesdale Bank, said: “Clydesdale Bank is very proud to commemorate the Forth Bridge on our new £5 note. The structure is renowned across the world as an incredible feat of engineering so it was a fitting choice for a ground-breaking new banknote.

“We continue to lead the way in banknote development, and following the successful introduction of a new series of notes with ‘Depth™ Image’ holograms in 2009 we are now at the forefront in polymer currency. The Forth Bridge’s super structure certainly lends itself to the intricate processes of banknote printing, combining security, durability and an aesthetically striking design.”

Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs welcomed the launch of the banknote. She said: “Today we are celebrating two eras of Scotland’s innovation and foresight. The introduction of this innovative new banknote featuring the iconic Forth Bridge as a symbol of Scotland’s engineering heritage and ingenuity is very welcome.

“We are immensely proud of the Forth Bridge and its nomination for inclusion in UNESCO’s World Heritage List. The launch of this banknote is such a fitting way to mark this nomination and Sir William Arrol’s work and I applaud the Clydesdale Bank for this gesture.”