There are over two billion £20 notes in circulation. Laid end to end, two billion polymer £20 notes would stretch around the world almost seven times and weigh a total of 1780 tonnes – that’s over 141 double-decker buses.
Paper £20 notes can continue to be used as normal and the Bank will give six months’ notice ahead of legal tender status being withdrawn.
Why is the change taking place?
Britain is joining the list of more than 30 countries that already use plastic banknotes, including Australia which adopted the notes in 1988, and Singapore and New Zealand.
The polymer notes are believed to last more than twice as long as paper money.
As well as being less likely to tear, the notes only begin to melt at 120C and have been designed to repel dirt and moisture.
The Bank of England also hopes the new notes will be much more difficult for fraudsters to copy successfully.