The Bank of England has announced a public consultation programme on polymer banknotes.
It has been reviewing how banknotes are printed and now believes printing on polymer would bring benefits to the durability and quality of banknotes.
The bank said switching to polymer from paper would result in:
* Polymer banknotes lasting at least 2.5 times longer than paper banknotes and they will take much longer to become tatty.
* Advanced security features making them difficult to counterfeit.
In addition to detailed technical research, the Bank has discussed a move to polymer with key stakeholders in the cash industry, retailers and financial institutions on the technical issues and impact of switching to polymer banknotes.
The Bank will now host a series of events across the UK to get public feedback.
Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, Charles Bean said: “Polymer banknotes are cleaner, more secure and more durable than paper notes,” he said.
“They are also cheaper and more environmentally friendly.
“However, the Bank of England would print notes on polymer only if we were persuaded the public would continue to have confidence in, and be comfortable with our notes.”
If the switch goes ahead banknotes will in future be smaller and more in linew ith the size of those in other countries.