The new notes unveiled with the Fourth Bridge in the background
Clydesdale Bank has announced the first plastic banknotes will enter UK circulation in Scotland in 2015, to mark the 125th anniversary of the Fourth Bridge.
Two million limited edition £5 notes will be issued to mark the occasion in March next year, a year before the Bank of England will roll out its first polymer notes in 2016.
Clydesdale Bank says the new £5 note would be smaller than existing currency, and that polymer notes are proven to be more durable, although it has not made a decision about introducing the notes generally.
"Clydesdale Bank is very proud to commemorate the Forth Bridge on our new £5 note,” said Debbie Crosbie, executive director at Clydesdale Bank. “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."
The note will feature an image of Scottish engineer, Sir William Arrol, whose company constructed the Fourth Bridge, which has been nominated for inclusion in UNESCO's World Heritage List in 2014.
Polymer banknotes are manufactured from a transparent plastic film, specially coated with an ink layer that enables it to carry the printed design features of banknotes. The material allows the inclusion of ‘windows’ or clear portions in the design, which enhance protection against counterfeits.
Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, said: “The quality of polymer notes is higher, they are more secure from counterfeiting, and they can be produced at lower cost to the taxpayer and the environment.”