Bank of England notes £5 fury and aims to go vegan

The use of animal fat in the plastic banknote has caused uproar...

More than 118,000 people signed an online petition to voice their disgust at the revelation that Britain's new plastic £5 note contained animal fat, and the Bank of England has sat up and paid attention to the public outrage.

In an act of damage limitation, the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street has confirmed that it is looking at "possible solutions" to the problem.

It said in a statement:

"We are aware of some people's concerns about traces of tallow in our new £5 note. We respect those concerns and are treating them with the utmost seriousness."

The UK's central bank also emphasised that it was unaware that the note would contain tallow at the time the contract to print them was signed with supplier Innovia.

It said that the amount of animal fat used is "extremely small" and that it was used in an early stage of the production process of polymer pellets.

"Innovia is now working intensively with its supply chain and will keep the Bank informed on progress towards potential solutions."

The introduction of the £5 bill, which bears an image of Winston Churchill on the back, in September marked the first time the Bank of England had employed plastic in its currency and was promoted at the time for its increased security features and waterproofing.

The Bank of England is still set to use polymer in two new banknotes: the Jane Austen £10, which enters circulation next summer, and the JMW Turner £20, which will arrive by 2020.

Economist Justin Urquhart Stewart told the Telegraph earlier this year:

The move to plastic is a waste of time because soon most people won't be using notes anyway, so frankly, the Bank of England ought to think again.