From County Councillor Tudor Thomas to County Councillor Jane Pratt, Cabinet Member for Infrastructure and Neighbourhood Services
- Meeting of County Council, Thursday, 27th January, 2022 2.00 pm (Item 14.)
- View the declarations of interest for item 14.
Allwch aelod y cabinet egluro pam mae’r newid polisi wedi i wneud o ran cadw arwyddion enw stryd yn Saesneg yn unig ac nid dros gyfnod o amser yn darparu arwyddion stryd dwyieithog ar draws yr awdurdod.
Mae Sir Fynwy yn awdurdod yng Nghymru ac bydd y newid polisi hwn yn cael effaith negyddol ar iaith Gymraeg yn yr awdurdod.
Can the Cabinet Member clarify why the policy change has been made regarding keeping street name signs in English only and not over a period of time providing bilingual street signs across the authority.
Monmouthshire is an authority in Wales and this change of policy will have a negative effect on the Welsh Language in the authority.
Can the Cabinet Member clarify why the policy change has been made regarding keeping street name signs in English only and not over a period of time providing bilingual street signs across the authority. Monmouthshire is an authority in Wales and this change of policy will have a negative effect on the Welsh Language in the authority.
The Cabinet Member thanked County Councillor Thomas for his question and responded that the Welsh language is an important part of the culture and heritage of our county. As a council we remain committed to ensure that new street names are Welsh only or bilingual. She added that she is very proud of the work done by our Street Naming Officer and Welsh Language Policy Officer who work closely to ensure that new street names reflect the Welsh history of the area rather than being translations of generic English language street names.
Our existing policy required updating as it mentioned the old Welsh Language Act 1993 which has been superseded by the Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 and contained a reference to say that we were awaiting the Code of Practice from the Welsh Language Commissioner to inform our approach to the translation of existing street names. To clarify, the change made relates only to cases when existing street nameplate signs are damaged and need to be replaced. The update to the policy was carried out and is now fully compliant with the Welsh Language Standards.
Some press reports had inferred that Monmouthshire was alone in deciding that it would not translate existing street names which are currently in one language. One of our stated aspirations was to achieve a consistency of approach in South East Wales. Alongside our Gwent neighbours, those adopting the same approach to existing street names include Conwy, Denbighshire, Powys and Carmarthenshire.
The Cabinet Member concluded that we were not watering down our commitments on new street names and an examination of new street names can confirm that this is an authority which embraces the language, culture and heritage of Wales.
As a supplementary County Councillor Thomas asked if the change in policy reflected the deep seated negative of the Conservative Administration to the use of Welsh in everyday life in Monmouthshire?
The Cabinet Member responded that Welsh is a growing language in Monmouthshire and we are currently consulting on a new Welsh Language strategy that looks to capitalise on this and contribute to the Welsh Government’s ambition for one million Welsh speakers by 2050. Last year Cabinet committed to increase the translation budget by more than 20%. We have worked with a local firm to develop the first bilingual local authority chatbot in Wales, which has now been taken up by other councils. The MyCouncil services app is fully bilingual, and a translator is being commissioned by the digital team to continue improvements.
We have over 2500 streets in Monmouthshire, translating them accurately and sensitively is not a quick process. If a member of the public uses a Welsh version of a street name which had not been added to the Gazetteer, it could cause problems to the service. We are committed to ensure that Welsh street names are recorded properly on the Gazetteer for all our partners to access when needed.