CCL Secure Celebrates 8 Years Of Success With The Bank Of England

In 2013, when the Bank of England made the decision to move the £5 and £10 from paper to polymer, the decision was based on 3 years of research into the resilience and quality of different substrates. Eight years later, CCL Secure remains lead substrate supplier to the Bank with world-leading GUARDIAN™ polymer substrate.  Later this year, the £50 note will launch with CCL Secure as the lead supplier of the launch volume.

The launch of the new £50 will complete the transition to polymer for all of the Bank of England’s notes. The £20 was launched on polymer in February 2020.

CCL Secure has been an important partner for the Bank throughout the journey. As well as supplying the GUARDIAN substrate (based exclusively on Propanote™ Clarity C film), the company invested in a new £40 million manufacturing facility in Wigton, Cumbria, to provide the vast quantities of substrate needed by the Bank.  In 2002, their sister company Innovia Films, manufacturer of the exclusive BOPP polymer film core (Propanote™ Clarity C), invested £12M in a state of the art R&D facility on the same site in Cumbria, UK.

In a speech at the opening of the new factory the then Chief Cashier of the Bank of England, Victoria Cleland, explained the Bank’s reasoning for the drive toward polymer currency. “Polymer incorporates complex windows and sophisticated security features and delivers a leap forward in counterfeit resilience. Experience from central banks that have issued polymer banknotes has been positive. Canada, for example, has seen a real reduction in counterfeit levels since launching its polymer series a few years ago. Polymer is also cleaner and more durable, leading to better quality notes in circulation,” she said.

All of these measures featured in the steady release of new polymer notes that has taken place since then.

In autumn 2016,  440 million new £5 notes featuring Sir Winston Churchill were launched into circulation – all on GUARDIAN substrate. The new note’s security features included a clearly-defined portrait of H.M. The Queen using the rich tonal range provided by the GUARDIAN CameoTM feature, contained in a large see-through window. The GUARDIAN G-SwitchTM feature was used in a coloured border around the window. The border changes from purple to green when the note is tilted. Other features included an image of Big Ben that’s gold fil on the front and silver on the back, a hologram of the word ‘Five’ changing to ‘Pounds’, a 3D image of the coronation crown and micro lettering under the Queen’s portrait.

A year later, the new £10 note featuring Jane Austen was launched.  Just over one billion polymer £10 notes were printed on GUARDIAN ready for issue, including many of the same security features found on the £5 note.

Four years after the initial GUARDIAN banknotes were contracted, CCL  was awarded the supply of 75% of the contract for both the first and second call offs within the 10 year framework agreement.

The Bank’s decision to move to polymer from paper was borne out by figures released shortly before the launch of the £20. The Bank’s figures show that GUARDIAN banknotes are significantly more durable than their paper counterparts. Under 3% of the polymer £5 notes in circulation were replaced in 2019 (to end September), compared to around 60% of the paper £5 series V notes in 2015 (the last full calendar year before the polymer £5 was issued). Under 2% of the polymer £10 notes in circulation were replaced in 2019 (to end September), compared to around 53% of the paper £10 series V notes in 2016 (the last full calendar year before the polymer £10 was issued).

CCL Secure’s journey with the Bank of England continues with a new £50 note featuring Alan Turing, which will be issued in 2021. This will mean that the full family of Bank of England banknotes will be on polymer with CCL Secure supplying substrate for all denominations.  CCL Secure’s Vice President and Managing Director, Neil Sanders, commented that the new contract follows the successful introduction of GUARDIAN polymer banknotes not only in England and Wales, but also around the world.

“100% of £5 and £10 banknotes currently in circulation are on GUARDIAN polymer and 75% of the new £20 notes are on GUARDIAN following the launch of the new note last year. With the new £50 launch in 2021, the Bank of England will join Australia, Brunei, Canada, Mauritania, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and Romania in having their full family of notes on GUARDIAN, the leading substrate used for polymer notes worldwide.”

CCL Secure has worked closely with the Bank of England over the last ten years, developing the initial concept design for the new £5, developing the full substrate design of the £5 and £10 notes, and assisting in the design and consultation process for all the bank’s future polymer notes.

“We’re looking forward to working in collaboration with the Bank of England on this project and continuing the strong partnership that has produced a great deal of success over the last 10 years.” said Mr Sanders.

Interesting Facts about Guardian and Bank of England Banknotes

  • CCL has invested over £40 million in building a new facility in Wigton, Cumbria to supply GUARDIAN substrate for the Bank of England.This includes a state of the art, highly secure production facility
  • The investment created 80 highly skilled jobs at CCL Secure alone
  • Innovia Films of CCL Industries invested £12 million in a state of the art R&D centre in 2002.
  • In 2017, The Bank of England won awarded the Carbon Trust’s Footprint Label for carbon footprint reduction based on the launch of the new £5 and £10 GUARDIAN polymer banknotes in 2016 and 2017
  • At the time of their launch 440 million £5 notes and over 1 billion £10 notes had been produced on GUARDIAN
  • When the £20 was launched the Bank of England said there were over 2 billion £20 notes in circulation. Laid end to end, 2 billion polymer £20 notes would stretch around the world almost 7 times and weigh a total of 1,780 tonnes – that’s over 141 double decker buses
  • To date, CCL Secure has supplied over 100 million sheets of substrate to the Bank of England. Laid end to end the total distance of all the Guardian notes supplied would be 652,000 kilometres. That’s more than 16 times around the world
  • CCL Secure has been manufacturing substrate for the Bank of England since 2015
  • Any waste produced by CCL Secure and Innovia during the production of Bank of England banknotes is either recycled back into the production process or recycled into household items such as buckets and furniture
  • Once GUARDIAN banknotes have completed their useful life (3.8 – >6 times the life of paper banknotes according to a 2013 Bank of England survey of Banks using GUARDIAN substrate), the banknotes are 100% recycled in England



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