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Tory council boss defends English-only street sign policy following backlash

03 Jan 2022 4 minute read
Sign. Raglan. Monmouth (CC0)

The boss of a Tory council has defended the authority’s English-only street sign policy following an online backlash.

Monmouthshire County Council came under fire after a report recommended that replacement or additional signs on existing streets be kept English-only, citing “safety benefits” to doing so.

The report uses a hypothetical example of a Welsh speaker calling emergency services to justify the policy.

It suggests a Welsh place name could lead to a dangerous delay if it does not officially exist in the National Land and Property Gazetteer, which is used by the emergency services, and claims that keeping English-only signs “will reduce the chances of confusion”.

The move has been slammed as “awful”, but Paul Matthews, the CEO of the council, said the authority was adjusting its policy to “to comply with Welsh Language Commissioner direction”.

Richard John, the Leader of the council insisted that they county’s street signs are “fully bilingual” before adding that guidance published by the Welsh Language Commissioner says “that existing English-only street names can remain.”

The move reverses the council’s previous policy, which was to add a Welsh translation to a nameplate to comply with its Welsh Language Scheme.

The report, which follows updated advice from the Welsh Language Commission, was submitted to Tory councillor Jane Pratt, who is the cabinet member for infrastructure and neighbourhood services.

Ethan Jones said: “If you ever wanted confirmation the Tories are an anti-Wales party, look no further. This is truly awful.”

Non Watcyn said: “Shame on you @MonmouthshireCC. Bilingual signs cause confusion? Nothing but excuses!! Do the right thing – you are a part of Wales get used to it!”

Cat Rees said: “But by this reasoning how do they avoid the issue arising for all bilingual signage added in the future? I would love to see the actual evidence that this is based upon – in the XX number of years when there has been bilingual signage how many times has this happened?”

‘Blatant disregard’

Kelsey Trevett said: “Welsh is a distinct and important language: the Tories’ blatant disregard for its protection is indicative — as if we needed more signs — of their lack of meaningful understanding about any history which isn’t that of England. The Welsh language must be preserved.

“I should add that the Welsh language is far from just a piece of history: for thousands, it is a primary language, and its attempted erasure by the Tories is a move to alienate communities, putting their safety, communication, and lives at risk in the name of vane nationalism.”

Tomos Barlow said: “Terrible decision by Monmouth Council. The concern of safety is utter rubbish, making a name for a place which may not have had a Welsh place name before is not dangerous or confusing. Weak excuse and just shows the Tories don’t care about the Welsh language.”

In response to a story on Nation.Richard John, the Leader of Monmouthshire County Council, said: “Sad to see this sensationalist and misleading click bait. Our street signs are fully bilingual but the Welsh Language Commissioner has published guidance (adopted by many other Welsh councils) that existing English-only street names can remain.”

Paul Matthews, the CEO of Monmouthshire County Council said: “Gosh – ‘happy new year’ didn’t last long. I don’t imagine a headline of ‘council adjusts its policy to comply with Welsh Language Commissioner direction’ would have been quite so ‘clicky popular’”

The report says: “The negative impact of reducing potential use of the Welsh language by translating existing street names is offset by the safety benefits for emergency services.

“This proposal aims to standardise the provision of street nameplates in line with recommendations by the Welsh Language Commissioner. It will reduce the chances of confusion around road names, particularly where the Welsh version is significantly different to the English. This will particularly benefit groups such as those with learning disabilities, dementia and visual impairment.”


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Erisian
Erisian
11 months ago

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The terms Tory and Welsh are mutually exclusive.
Does lazyness and apathy count as a learning disability?

J Davies
J Davies
11 months ago

The motive for Tory @MonmouthshireCC deliberately reneging on any responsibility towards Cymraeg is obvious. It’s to make the county all the more appealing to people from bordering English counties to relocate there, now that Alun Cairns’s abrogation of the Severn bridges’ tolls has facilitated it. All a part of the Tories continued ‘re-britishing’ crusade, pathetically anachronistic as it may be.

Grayham Jones
11 months ago

Welsh is the first language in wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 kick all English party’s out of wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 we
In wales have got to stop being little Englanders and and be proud to be welsh it’s time for a new wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

Mick Tems
Mick Tems
11 months ago

The tories are truly and definitely an anti-Wales party. I shouldn’t be surprised if the appalling Bonking Bozo confers upon them The Order Of The Brown Nose.

Mochyn 69
Mochyn 69
11 months ago

These signs need to be ripped down, chucked in the river and put in a colonialism museum, just like old Eddie Colston, formerly of Bristol fame, or rather infamy!

.

Hogyn y Gogledd
Hogyn y Gogledd
11 months ago
Reply to  Mochyn 69

Green paint has a good history.

Chris Franks
Chris Franks
11 months ago

Why on earth do they want to be so provocative? Anyone living in Monmouthshire should consider standing for council in May. Don’t get mad get even.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
11 months ago

Monmouthshire Council are defending the indefensible. They now have a policy of prejudice towards the Welsh language.

Richard
Richard
11 months ago

I have made a few calls to contacts within the Authority and the confusion that no other Wales Council seems to be having currently. Richard needs to make it clear in a statement with Aled what exactly is the revised policy – what it covers and the plan to achieve its outcome including proposed times and monitoring procedure by the Council and the Commissioners Office. Our Parliament needs to give a clear message via the relevant subject committee along with that of the responsible Minister that this is not a thematic but a specific set of outcomes that are expectations.… Read more »

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
11 months ago

How much do you think we could get for Monmouth County?

Enough to pay for the Llanbedr by-pass I bet…

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
11 months ago

As an aside what are these idiots going to do about places like Llandinabo and Llancloudy? Will they offer Herefordshire new “English” signs?

Gareth Wyn Jones
Gareth Wyn Jones
11 months ago

Let’s cause real confusion and take all those English only signs down

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
11 months ago

The Senedd needs to make into law that signage has to be bilingual. To be honest I thought that was the law here but obviously I was wrong. The Tories want to chip away at our culture, our existence. They don’t want separate nations in the UK and this is part of a long term policy to eradicate Wales and Scotland. Sounds extreme? It isn’t.

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
11 months ago

Richard John, if you can defend your way out of this criticism of your anti-Wales policy, you’re a better man than I am. Just admit that your policy is unpopular, morally wrong, and politically motivated. You’re talking about a part of Wales, man.

William Smith
William Smith
29 days ago

No one in Monmouthshire speaks Welsh. In fact, the majority of people in Wales don’t speak Welsh, and everyone who does also speaks English. Roll it out across Wales.

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