Launch next year for
plastic fiver to mark
bridge milestone

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The first plastic banknotes in Great Britain will enter circulation next year to mark the 125th anniversary of the Forth Bridge, Clydesdale Bank has announced.

The bank will release two million of the £5 notes from March 2015 to coincide with the anniversary of the opening of the rail bridge.

Banks say that polymer notes are proven to be more durable than existing currency, with research finding that they stay cleaner for longer, are more difficult to counterfeit and are at least 2.5 times longer-lasting.

They will be introduced in Scotland ahead of England, where the Bank of England plans to issue them for the first time in 2016.

The Clydesdale Bank note, which is smaller than the existing currency, also celebrates the nomination of the Forth Bridge for inclusion in Unesco’s World Heritage List in 2014.

It features the image of Sir William Arrol, one of Scotland’s most celebrated engineers, whose company constructed the Forth Bridge.

Debbie Crosbie, executive director at Clydesdale Bank, said the Forth Bridge was renowned across the world as an incredible feat of engineering.

The bank said it had not decided about introducing plastic notes generally.

It said the new note will include a Spark Orbital security feature – an innovative ink effect – for the first time on UK currency.