Wales: Swansea bans bilingual road signs

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Fri Sep 28 12:50:11 UTC 2007

Swansea Bans Bilingual

Golwg <> today reveals that Swansea Council
seems to be under the impression that the Welsh Governmenr has given it
permission to replace bilingual road signs on an M4 roundabout with English
only ones. Apparently the Ynysforgan roundabout needs to be English-only for
"health and safety reasons".

*"It goes against the council's language policy but the Assembly Government
gave us special license to make the change"* said Jason Rogers, the
council's environment and communications officer, in whose opinion Welsh
would confuse drivers.

*"Ynysforgan is a very complicated junction and we receive a lot of
complaints about the number of signs.

"We felt that the only way to simplify the roundabout was to get English
only signs.

"Due to the junction being a busy and complicated one bilingual road
markings and signs could could confuse car drivers and create possible

"Swansea council has a language plan that promotes bilingualism, but there
are some occasions where health and safety is more important."*

Meanwhile, the Welsh Government is denying that it has any responsibility
for road signs at the junction. But according to a WAG transport
spokesperson, it is responsible for the English only road markings at the
Ynysforgan roundabout. Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones' department, to
be precise. Golwg asked for a fuller response, but there was no answer
before going to press.
The leader of the Plaid Cymru group in the council, Darren Price, says that
this isn't the first time for English-only signs to be raised in the county,
and that the council's logic doesn't hold water.

*"I'm dissappointed with the decision and have asked for a copy of the
original report to see why they have done this"* said Mr Price, who has
called for a review of the council's language policy.

*"Yes it's a busy roundabout but there are just as busy roundabouts
elsewhere in Wales and they have bilingual signs."*

Dafydd Morgan Lewis of Cymdeithas yr Iaith pointed out that there are
bilingual and multilingual road signs accross Europe, adding *"The Roderick
Bowen Committee on Bilingual Signs made a detailed study on the subject in
1971 and came to the conclusion that bilingual road signs were not

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