Bank of England to keep polymer notes despite protests over animal fat content
The Bank of England has ignored calls from activists to ditch polymer notes that contain traces of animal fat.
Following a public consultation, the Bank said the new £20 note and future print runs of £5 and £10 notes will continue to be made from polymer, "manufactured using trace amounts of chemicals, typically less than 0.05%, ultimately derived from animal products".
The move is likely to enrage animal rights activists such as PETA and the National Council of Hindu Temples, which have expressed their outrage at the use of tallow in new bank notes.
"After careful and serious consideration and extensive public consultation there will be no change to the composition of polymer used for future banknotes.
"This decision reflects multiple considerations including the concerns raised by the public, the availability of environmentally sustainable alternatives, positions of our Central Bank peers, value for money, as well as the widespread use of animal-derived additives in everyday products," the Bank said in a statement.
This is despite 88% of respondents to its consultation being against the use of animal-derived additives being used.
It said the only viable alternative is palm oil, but this raises questions about environmental sustainability and value for money.
The Bank's estimated extra cost of switching to palm oil is around £16.5 million over the next 10 years, which would not represent "value for money for taxpayers".
It added: "The case for moving to polymer banknotes remains compelling.
"Polymer banknotes deliver significant benefits over paper, particularly when combined with state of the art security features which make the notes much harder to counterfeit.
"Polymer is also stronger than cotton-paper and so notes will last longer, remain in better condition and deliver environmental benefits.
"The Carbon Trust has certified that over their full life cycle, the carbon footprint of polymer £5 and £10 notes is lower than paper notes."