Tory council moves to keep street signs English-only after report cites ‘safety benefits’
A Tory council has moved to keep street signs English-only after a report cited “safety benefits” to doing so.
The Monmouthshire County Council report, which recommends that this be the case for replacement or additional signs on existing streets, 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
The report claims that keeping English-only signs “will reduce the chances of confusion”.
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.
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.”
The report adds the monolingual language policy relates only to existing named streets, and that streets on new developments will be bilingual or in Welsh only.
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