The Bank of England has made contingency plans for a changeover to plastic bank notes, Sky News has confirmed.
A source has told Sky News the printing proviso is to "future proof" the bank's supply of money.
A number of countries already use plastic money, which can be more durable than traditional cotton-based paper notes.
Australia, Romania, Vietnam, Mexico and Malaysia are among those to have introduced polymer money.
The Australian $5 note lasts an average of 40 months whereas an English £5 note is worn out after an estimated six months.
Between 2003 and 2011 the Bank of England received claims for bank notes destroyed through washing totalling £747,000, and £8.625m for fire or flood damage money.
It also received claims for £946,000 for notes that had been eaten or chewed.
"The Bank of England is not doing its job properly if it does not take account any new security measures it can utilize to protect the currency," the source said.
The new printing contract will run from 2015 to 2025 or 2028.
The bank plans for a consultation period of at least 12 months ahead of any changeover, as cash and vending machines need mechanisms recalibrated.
A Bank of England spokesperson told Sky News: "It’s incumbent on the Bank, within our general research and development program to look at the pros and cons of various security features and substrates.
pros and cons：正反两方面
"No decision has been made as yet regarding printing on polymer."