The Bank of England says plastic £5 notes are here to stay despite complaints that they contain animal fat.

 The notes have been criticised by some vegans, Hindus and Sikhs since it emerged that the polymer used to them contains trace amounts of chemicals derived from animal products.

 Ahead of the launch of the new £10 and £20 notes, the Bank ran a public consultation comparing the polymer notes to what it says is the only viable alternative – using chemicals ultimately derived from palm oil.

 Some 88% of those who responded to the consultation were against the use of animal-derived additives and 48% were against the alternative.

 The Bank said it had to balance this response against other evidence gathered in recent months, including some that raises questions about the environmental sustainability of using palm oil.

 Switching to a palm oil-based derivative would also cost the taxpayer an estimated £16.5m over the next 10 years, something the Treasury says would not offer value for money.

 The new polymer £10 note, which features Jane Austin, will be issued on 14 September. A new £20 featuring JMW Turner will follow in 2020.

 Unveiling the design of the new tenner last month, Bank of England governor Mark Carney said: “Our banknotes serve as repositories of the country’s collective memory, promoting awareness of the United Kingdom’s glorious history and highlighting the contributions of its greatest citizens.

 “The new £10 note celebrates Jane Austen’s work. Austen’s novels have a universal appeal and speak as powerfully today as they did when they were first published.

 “The new £10 will be printed on polymer, making it safer, stronger and cleaner. The note will also include a new tactile feature on the £10 to help the visually impaired, ensuring the nation’s money is as inclusive as possible.”

 Security features on the new note include a see-through window featuring the Queen’s portrait and a quill at the side of the window that changes from purple to orange.

 It also has a number of holograms and microscopic lettering underneath the Queen’s portrait.