The Welsh language will now have a stronger status in the planning process thanks to the Welsh Liberal Democrats.
The Planning (Wales) Bill has been approved by the Welsh Assembly today. Thanks to an amendment brought forward by William Powell, Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for Mid & West Wales, the new legislation will make it clearer that the Welsh language must be a ‘material consideration’ when considering planning applications.
William Powell AM, the Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Planning Minister, said:
“The Welsh Liberal Democrats have a proud record of campaigning to promote the Welsh language and today continues in that tradition.
“This Bill offered us a significant opportunity to support the growth of the Welsh language across Wales. It was clear from the earliest stages of the development of this Bill that this new legislation needed to ensure that the Welsh language needed a stronger status within the planning system.
“My intention was to clarify that, in dealing with applications for planning permission, a local planning authority must have regard to considerations relating to the use of the Welsh language so far as material to the application. This does not mean that it should be an overriding consideration, but merely that it has the same status as other considerations such as the environment and sustainability.
“Now that these changes have been approved, it is important that supplementary planning guidance is updated to ensure that planning authorities across Wales implement this policy accurately and consistently”.
Tamsin Davies, Chair of Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg’s sustainable communities group also commented:
“Whilst it is disappointing that the Welsh Government hasn’t agreed to all the cross-party calls for changes to the Planning Bill in relation to Welsh language, we are very pleased the Welsh language is a statutory material consideration in the planning system. There is still more to be done to further promote and protect the Welsh language, but this is an important step in the right direction.”