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Business leaders consider legal challenge to Bannau Brycheiniog rebrand

07 May 2023 6 minute read
Bannau Brycheiniog National Park. Picture Nation.Cymru

Martin Shipton

Members of the mid Wales business community are taking legal advice on the feasibility of a High Court challenge to the recent decision to rebrand Brecon Beacons National Park with the Welsh language-only name Bannau Brycheiniog.

Ironically the piece of legislation that could provide the basis of a challenge is the Welsh Language Act 1993, which was introduced partly to give Welsh equal status with English.

One of the Act’s three aims was to oblige “all organisations in the public sector providing services to the public in Wales to treat Welsh and English on an equal basis”.

A source in the business community within the area of the national park told us: “By deleting the English name for the park authority, it seems that the equality previously provided by having names in both languages has been lost.

“Legal advice is being sought on the likelihood of winning a court challenge on that basis.”

News of the possible legal challenge comes as the Conservative councillor who resigned from the park authority because of the name change called for all documents relating to the rebranding process to be published.

The decision to use only the Welsh name in the future has attracted UK-wide and international publicity, some of it positive but much of it negative.

Hostile

The Daily Mail carried an article that was unashamedly hostile towards the Welsh language, framing the decision to rebrand the park as Bannau Brycheiniog as a “woke” contribution to culture wars.

An anonymous source who contacted Nation.Cymru by encrypted email suggested that Cllr Iain McIntosh, the Conservative member of Powys County Council whose resignation from the park authority prompted the Daily Mail’s interest in the matter, may himself have voted for the name change.

The source also pointed out that the only reference to the name change in published minutes of the park authority related to a meeting held last November where it was stated that the discussion had taken place in private after members of the public were excluded because it involved “information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information)”.

The source went on to state: “The Daily Mail article … contains a quote from Cllr McIntosh where, while he notes that ‘the board voted to approve the name change’, he doesn’t specifically state whether he himself voted to approve it. He says he thought there would be more consultation but doesn’t say if he asked any specific questions about the consultation to provide some scrutiny of the plans. I have had confirmation from another member of the board that they personally had ‘voted for the change’ so it seems the proposal was put to a vote as you would expect.”

The source suggested a number of questions that could be put to the park authority, including:

* Why was the rebranding of the national park discussed behind closed doors under the seemingly not relevant grounds of “relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person”? Can the minutes of this discussion be released?

* Was there any discussion around public consultation in the meeting about rebranding? For example, were any commitments about consultation made by officers of the national park to board members which were subsequently not fulfilled?

* Was there any discussion of the announcement of the changes and how this would be presented to the media? Was there any attempt to scrutinise how this internationally significant announcement would be handled?

* Was there a vote by the authority members on the rebranding and if so were the names of any votes for and against recorded? The Daily Mail article contains personal attacks on several members who may have voted against the change. If Cllr McIntosh voted for the change then he obviously holds some accountability for any implications for local businesses, about which he complains in the Daily Mail, in his resignation letter and on his Facebook page.

Surprised

Responding, Cllr McIntosh insisted that he was surprised when the announcement was made last month that the national park’s name was to be rebranded as the Welsh-only Bannau Brycheiniog.

He released a comment he had made on the authority members’ WhatsApp group chat the morning after they had been told of the change: “I have to say I’m a little confused this morning. I wasn’t able to come last night, but I assumed it was announcing the name, and that a consultation exercise would be the next stage before final implementation.

There are stakeholders and other organisations, businesses, here who use the BBNPA name and branding. I’d assumed they would have been consulted next. If they have been consulted then I missed that, apologies.”

Liberal Democrat councillor Gareth Ratcliffe, deputy chair of the park authority, responded: “No problem Iain. There has been numerous consultations the name Brecon Beacons still exists we now have the Welsh name leading [sic].”

Cllr McIntosh, who runs a carpet shop in Brecon, told us: “I believe that the park authority should release all documentation relating to the name change. So far as I was concerned, a final decision would have been made after a proper consultation exercise. The authority claims consultation was undertaken – I believe they should release details of who was consulted. Many businesses have ‘Brecon Beacons’ in their title and, to my knowledge, are unhappy with the decision to ditch the English name.

“It’s been suggested that I’m against the Welsh language. That’s not the case at all and I fully support bilingualism. But I think it’s wrong to only use the Welsh name.”

Consultation

Bannau Brycheiniog did not respond specifically to the questions drafted by the anonymous source, but a spokeswoman for the national park said: ‘We engaged with many people during the process of developing our new brand and management plan to help shape our direction; this included working throughout with a stakeholder reference panel and with a citizens assembly to test our thinking and to reflect on other inputs coming through the consultation.

“The agency we worked with on our new brand conducted in-depth sessions with a selection of staff, volunteers, members and ambassadors. The results of these sessions guided the decision-making process for the new brand.

“In line with our commitment to the Welsh language, and in line with feedback from our consultation process, we have chosen to prioritise Bannau Brycheiniog, the Welsh name for the park. The decision was taken by the national park authority and communicated to the Welsh Government ahead of the launch on April 17.”


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Aled Rees
Aled Rees
9 months ago

as corporal Jones used to say they don’t like it up em cap’n Manering

Steve thomas
9 months ago

Why are these tories so afraid of our NATIONAL language? Like we don’t know

Riki
Riki
9 months ago
Reply to  Steve thomas

Because it’s British! They can hardly convince the World that Britain and England is the same thing while A Brythonic language and nation is still around to explain that they are lying. England is Anglo, Wales is Brythonic and Native, er go, Wales is More British, and The term “Welsh” more adequately suits England than Wales.

Frank
Frank
9 months ago
Reply to  Steve thomas

Why is a large amount of the Welsh population afraid of our language too? Because they cannot speak or understand it they rubbish it.

Karl
Karl
9 months ago
Reply to  Frank

English media tells them culture is stupid

Riki
Riki
9 months ago

Only in Wales! Imagine being threatened for given back a place its original name. We are truly a special place.

Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
9 months ago
Reply to  Riki

The Ukraine are in a similar position with also a bigger bully on their eastern boundary.

Riki
Riki
9 months ago

Bit different though! For all sorts of reasons. 1. Ukraine only exists due to those 1939-1945 people (Their founding father was very much a N***). And 2. Ukraine started it by instigating a coup against a Pro Russian elected official. Also, Wales is about 1600 years older than Ukraine and have had to suffer under England for centuries. Assessing the start, or reason why something begins in no way condones such actions. Don’t confuse my response for being Pro Russian. Btw, it’s Ukraine who are replacing all the names, Kievan Rus was, wait for it….Russian!

Last edited 9 months ago by Riki
CapM
CapM
9 months ago

This bunch should be careful what they wish for

The English version of Bannau Brycheiniog” would be ‘Brychan’s Peaks National Park’.

Or maybe the ‘The Knobs of Brychan National Park’.
Which would serve as a catch all brand for both the Park and the members of the business community involved.

Frank
Frank
9 months ago

To be “equal” both sides must be equal. Do they have Welsh equivalent placenames in England? No they don’t!! There’s your answer.

The original mark
The original mark
9 months ago

Iain McIntosh has a habit of resigning when he doesn’t get his way, and don’t forget during covid lockdown he wanted Powys opened up to tourists because we had so few cases, this is the calibre of tory councillors we have to tolerate,

robert moses
robert moses
9 months ago

Why do some people dispise our beautiful British language so much,especially those people from this country, it baffles me,the centuries of ethnic cleansing must have worked I guess,shame on the business leaders,shame on them,Cymru am byth

Marc
Marc
9 months ago

Pathetic bunch of Tory brown nosers. I wonder how many of these businesses ‘leaders’ are actually from Cymru!

Frank
Frank
9 months ago
Reply to  Marc

You’re right. They come here and then employ their own kind. It’s happening in our supermarkets. The managers are usually from across the border and then when a vacancy comes available for staff they don’t employ any locals only incomers. It’s a modern day invasion. Same thing applies to property. They are buying property here like mad. Before long, if it carries on, we will be wiped out but only if we allow it to happen.

Richard Thomas
Richard Thomas
9 months ago
Reply to  Frank

“They come here…” This whole thing could be recited verbatim by somebody from the BNP. Mind you Nick Griffin does live in Wales. I had the misfortune to see him in the street in Welshpool once.

Wynn
Wynn
9 months ago
Reply to  Frank

Same up here. I feel I live in England when I shop.

David Charles pearn
David Charles pearn
9 months ago
Reply to  Marc

Exactly 💯 %

Riki
Riki
9 months ago
Reply to  Marc

Spot on – our future isn’t under threat by Poles, or Arabs, or Indians. It is, as always, the policies of cultural replacement by the those in England who want Wales gone. They should need work visas to work here! After all, Wales is not England.

Y Llydawr
Y Llydawr
9 months ago

“Whenever I hear the word (Welsh) culture, I reach for my pistol.”

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
9 months ago

Indian restaurants world wide are up in arms about menu changes from Bombay to Mumbai Potatoes…

hdavies15
hdavies15
9 months ago

Nothing stopping so called business leaders from continuing to use the old “Brecon Beacons” name in any branding if it’s that dear to them. I’ve tended to be quite supportive of business interests particularly the small business community but they do need to spend more time thinking up ways of developing their services and products rather than waffling on about matters of only marginal relevance. Perhaps sucking on the grant aid teat has dulled their urge to compete commercially.

Iago Prydderch
Iago Prydderch
9 months ago

These complainants were happy when it was called by the English name ‘Brecon Beacons’ so the bilingual argument sounds ridiculous. They are only concerned as the name change could affect their business, but this could be counter-productive because those who support the change could now boycott those businesses. If they are using the bilingual argument how many of these businesses actually provide bilingual services? Maybe Nation Cymru, or other media, could find this out. If they fully support bilingualism, as they claim, there is a solution: change the name of their business!

Frank
Frank
9 months ago

There are countries, cities and towns all over the world that have changed their names and the WHOLE POPULATION OF THE WORLD ADAPTED and accepted it. But here in Cymru things are completely different.

Gwyn Hopkins
Gwyn Hopkins
9 months ago

  The High Court should dismiss any legal challenge forthwith, for the name “Brecon Beacons” is a nonsense for 2 reasons: Firstly, Brecon is not a proper, authentic English name but a corrupt, anglicized version of the name of king Brychan of Brycheiniog (419 – 480).  Secondly, my 2006 Collins English Dictionary defines Beacon as “a signal fire on a hill or tower” a clearly incorrect name for any mountains whereas my Welsh Dictionary gives “Peak” as the English equivalent of the Welsh word “Ban”. Thus, Bannau Brycheiniog is an accurate, meaningful description of the mountains in the Aberhonddu area whereas… Read more »

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
9 months ago

So all those moans from farmers and businessmen in Mid-Wales were lies? They must be rolling in spare c ash if they can afford legal advice on such fripperies.

Finn Aptomos.
Finn Aptomos.
9 months ago

While living in Normandy you are not allowed to change the name of the building your living in, its free for all in Wales and name the building whatever you want but don’t use Welsh vocabulary get over it this is Wales not England.

Steve Woods
Steve Woods
9 months ago

There should be quotation marks around ‘leaders’.

They’re clearly behind the times.

Gareth
Gareth
9 months ago

After seeing charitable volunteers of Westminster council in London, arrested at 2am by the police on suspicion of wanting to disrupt the coronation, there must be a new law where this lot of complainers can be arrested for behaving in a manner disrespecting Cymru.

Steve A Duggan
Steve A Duggan
9 months ago

No problem with the english being there along side the Welsh. Maybe in the bottom left or right hand corner in a liitle box? Firstly, we are in Wales, if we don’t promote and make Welsh as prominent as possible it will be made extinct by English and secondly – it’s our language and we’ll use it where we damn well like!!

Karla
Karla
9 months ago

Private business owners shouldn’t be able to dictate to a country to use another country’s language to name it’s own places. The requirement to have English and Welsh on signs was to prevent English only signs and promote Welsh, not to keep the English language equal with the Welsh language in Wales. English doesn’t need any promotion, it’s been forced on Wales for 1000 years. Equity is what is needed, not equality and equity means promoting Welsh and ignoring the English language.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
9 months ago

These critics are part & parcel of the anglicisation of Wales. Less they forget Bannau Brycheiniog is the original name of the region and the name Brecon Beacons ike many Welsh place names names are corrupted or changed entirely.

Rhufawn Jones
Rhufawn Jones
9 months ago

A bunch of colonists, presumably.

Blinedig
Blinedig
9 months ago
Reply to  Rhufawn Jones

Try colonists without the l,o,I,s,t. Or maybe that’s what you intended. Da iawn.

Dafydd B
Dafydd B
9 months ago

The Welsh Language Act 1993 was replaced by the Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011. Both acts of parliament were passed (incidentally both by Tory Governments) to protect the Welsh Language and give it equality of status with the English Language. As far as I am aware it cannot be applied to protect the English language from Welsh.

Lee
Lee
9 months ago

Ayers Rock in Australia was renamed its original aboriginal name, all we ask in wales is that we honour our heritage and honour and symbolism by acknowledging our heritage and respecting our culture! We’re not English bred or English raised were welsh, celts, one of the oldest tribes in Britain’s history! Longest standing languages and heritage. We long supersede any English tribe, outlived any English tradition and have endured many centuries of persecution, suffering and procrastinating under English supposed identity ! But the way I see it! We are wales! A country formed well before England, a brother country to… Read more »

Frank
Frank
9 months ago
Reply to  Lee

Although I agree with you 100% I am a little disheartened to see you have capitalised England, English, Scotland, Ireland and Union Jack but you have failed to do so for Wales, Welsh and Celts which is far more important to us than any of the others. Having said that, and in your defence, Wales is the only country in the world that fails to automatically capitalise itself when typing. Tap in England, Scotland, Ireland and other far flung countries using a lower case initial letter and it immediately changes it to a capital but not Wales or Welsh. I… Read more »

Martin Evans
Martin Evans
9 months ago

Just ask these people what the highest mountain in North America is ? Boy will they be shocked that Mount Mackinley is once again known by its pre Columbus namw

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