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Council reverses decision to ditch Welsh translations on street signs

A council that initially abandoned a policy to include Welsh translations on street signs when installing new ones has now officially reversed its decision.

Monmouthshire Council was found to have violated Welsh language standards in December 2021 when it opted to discontinue translations, contrary to its previous practice of providing translations for new signs.

The council clarified that signs have been produced in both languages following the Welsh Language Commissioner’s ruling in August 2022.

Despite the commissioner permitting English-only replacement signs, the decision constituted a breach of the council’s established Welsh language standards.

This was because ceasing Welsh translations represented a regression in the council’s efforts to support the language compared to its earlier, more progressive actions.

The commissioner, prompted by a public complaint, criticized the council for not adequately considering the impact of its decision on the Welsh language. The 2021 resolution permitted the replacement of street signs on a “like-for-like” basis, resulting in many signs being in English only.

Under the revised approach, when replacement or additional street nameplates are needed for existing streets with English names only, the signs will now be bilingual, prioritizing Welsh. However, the policy remains unchanged for naming new streets, which will continue to be either exclusively Welsh or bilingual with both Welsh and English, but never English only.