Bank of England to keep £5 polymer note despite animal rights activists' worries

The Bank of England has said that it will keep the £5 polymer note in circulation and issue a new £10 polymer note as planned, despite concerns from activists over traces of animal fats.

Wednesday, 15th February 2017, 11:55 am
Updated Wednesday, 1st March 2017, 8:53 am
The new 5 note contains an "extremely small amount" of tallow

It confirmed that an "extremely small amount" of tallow was used to produce polymer pellets, which were then used to create the material for the £5 note.

The central bank said it had carefully considered alternative options - like destroying, reprinting and delaying the issue of the £10 note - but said it would be costly and compromise new anti-counterfeit measures.

"Weighing the considerations below, the Bank has now concluded that it would be appropriate to keep the £5 polymer note in circulation and to issue the £10 polymer note as planned, in September."

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Fury among vegetarians and vegans erupted following confirmation by the Bank that the notes contained tallow back in November.

More than 134,000 people have signed a petition against its use, with activists advocating for a more suitable alternative.

However, the Bank said it has held off signing supply contracts for the £20 polymer note, which is due to be released in 2020, in order to weigh plant-based substitutes like coconut oil or palm oil.

It is launching a public consultation and will make a final decision on how £20 notes - and future runs of the £5 and £10 notes - will be manufactured by summer 2017.