SUZY DAVIES AM/AC has loaned her voice to comments made by journalist and broadcaster Huw Edwards on the “anglicisation” of Welsh place and building names, following a report today (January 7) on news website nation.cymru.
Mr Edwards – one of the stalwarts of BBC News – took to social media concerned at how Welsh is, in some cases, becoming a victim of what has been termed “linguistic cleansing”.
Examples given include So Porth Trecastell became “Cable Bay”, and the deconsecrated church of Nantcwnlle, now a private residence, becoming “Dunroamin”.
With his tongue perhaps in his cheek, Mr Edwards added: “I propose replacing London with its old Welsh name ‘Caerludd’. No? Ah. I thought not.”
Mrs Davies – Shadow Minister for the Welsh Language – said: “Huw makes an amusing point, but no less powerful for its cheekiness. However, that it follows the news report yesterday that Transport for Wales (TfW) had, according to a leaked report, broken the law over its use of the Welsh language, makes for quite sad reading.
“We Welsh Conservatives supported a backbench bill to protect Welsh place names, but neither the Welsh Government no Welsh Labour supported it, and the bill was defeated by three votes.”
As nation.cymru reports, in 2017 a bill at the Senedd to protect historical place names in planning law has failed after Welsh Government minister Ken Skates said the proposals were not feasible.
All the opposition groups – Plaid Cymru, UKIP and the Conservatives – supported the proposal. However with Labour whipped to oppose, AMs voted 28 against to 25 for.
The bill would have deployed a range of measures to protect names, including establishing a system where people who want to change a historic name must seek consent to do so, and a general prohibition on changing a historical place name.
Suzy Davies continued: “Huw is a such a well-known figure – from election night coverage to commentating on the annual Festival of Remembrance, and from presenting the BBC’s flagship news programmes to commentating on royal events – that I wonder if he could use his influence on not only this issue, but perhaps also to bring more news from this devolved nation to the UK as a whole.
“Rarely does Wales – or Scotland and Northern Ireland – feature on mainstream media news across the UK.
“Even when reports are flagged up as relevant in England only, we’re not told what the position is in the other UK nations. It’s time that news from all nations in the UK is reported to the country as a whole because understanding our present is every bit as valuable as understanding our history.”
National 20mph limit comes into force in Wales next year
WALES will be the first UK nation to impose a 20mph default speed limit following a vote held in the Senedd yesterday (July 12). The Welsh Government voted to limit residential roads and busy pedestrian streets to 20mph.
According to the Welsh Government, this will lessen the likelihood and severity of accidents involving vulnerable road users. It will also encourage more people to cycle and walk.
39 members of the Senedd voted in favour, while 15 members voted against.
The new national default speed limit will come into effect from September 2023. The Welsh Government say the changes affect residential roads and busy pedestrian streets.
According to the Welsh Government, the modifications have an impact on major pedestrian routes and residential roadways. The Welsh Government is still deciding which highways will have 20mph speed restrictions and which ones should stay at 30mph.
The 22 councils in Wales will collaborate with Go Safe to determine implementation timelines, according to the Welsh Government, but enforcement will continue throughout the transition period.
Climate change minister, Julie James, stated: “The future of our towns and cities depends on our ability to move around sustainably and on solutions that have a positive impact on public health environment and communities.
“That is why we will use the principle that walking, cycling and active travel must remain the best options for short urban journeys and a 20mph default speed limit will help achieve this. The introduction of a national 20mph limit would be an important and far reaching policy. If passed Wales would be the first country in the UK to introduce the change. We’re asking you all to be part of this change and make our communities understand the wider benefits of 20mph.
“This change is a generational one and when the time to embed, it will need to be accompanied by an important communication and marketing campaign and behaviour change initiatives. Achieving behavioural change is challenging but Wales has previously shown that we can do it successfully with policies such as organ donation, the banning of smoking in public places, and limiting the use of plastic bags. It does, however, require a collaborative effort between agencies, local authorities and by communities. We need to bring speeds down.”
She continued, saying there is evidence that 20 mph speed limits encourage more people to bike or walk, and she hoped this would lead to people naturally choosing those modes of transportation.
According to Ms. James, 80 people die on Welsh roads on average each year, and current data shows that 30mph is the speed at which 53 percent of accidents occur.
The immediate cost is about £33 million, but according to the Welsh Government, increased road safety brought on by slower average speeds could generate a positive financial return of about £25 million over the course of 30 years due to the money saved on fewer emergency services and hospital visits.
Additionally, the policy might result in significant wider economic gains from increased road safety (£1.4 billion), environmental and health gains from increased active travel (£5 million), and additional unquantified benefits from more vibrant and connected local economies.
Ben Lake MP chairs discussion in Parliament on the cost-of-living crisis
The ongoing energy crisis has seen the cost of heating the average home double over the last year. At least 6.5 million households across the UK are now facing fuel poverty and the Russian invasion of Ukraine has shone a spotlight on the interlinkages between energy security, demand and affordability.
While energy price rises affect everyone, the impacts are not felt the same by everybody. Low-income consumers face a double burden of the rising cost of bills as well as paying more for their energy due to the poverty premium.
Ben Lake MP chaired a panel discussion in Parliament this week to discuss the current crisis and to consider the potential merits of introducing a Social Tariff. Members of the panel included Alan Whitehead MP, Shadow Energy Minister, Liz Twist MP, Peter Aldous MP and Alan Brown MP, SNP Spokesperson for Energy.
Commenting after the event, Ben Lake MP said: “I was pleased to chair this important discussion and to listen to the views of cross-party MPs on the potential merits of introducing a Social Tariff.
“Personally, I believe that the UK Government rushed its Energy Security Strategy in response to the energy crisis which emerged last year, and as a result it does not address two pressing issues: affordability and short-term security of supply. A longer-term solution now needs to be found to make energy bills affordable.
“The Warm Home Discount Scheme and the price cap provide important functions in the energy market. As they are currently structured, however, they do not do enough to protect those energy consumers most vulnerable to sharp price increases, which is why I believe the UK Government should consider introducing a new targeted social tariff for energy bills.”
Large number of NHS staff in Wales currently off work as Covid cases rise
HEALTH MINISTER Eluned Morgan has said Wales is in the “midst of a new wave” Covid infections” and that around 1 in 20 people had the virus last week.
According to ONS data, it’s estimated that 149,700 people tested positive for COVID-19 for the seven days to 30 June.
Ms Morgan said a large number of NHS staff in Wales are currently off work because they have Covid-19.
Updating Senedd Members on the current situation in Wales, the health minister said: “Over the last couple of weeks, we have seen a steady rise in the number of coronavirus infections in Wales.”
“We are in the midst of a new wave of infections, caused by the BA.4 and BA.5 subtypes of the omicron variant.”
“These are fast-moving, highly infectious forms of the virus, which are causing a surge in infections across the UK and in many other countries around the world.” She said.
Public Health Wales reports the current dominant variant in Wales is the BA.5 variant of omicron.
The latest results of the ONS’ Coronavirus Infection Survey estimate 4.93% of the population in Wales had Covid-19 in the week ending 30 June – equivalent to approximately one person in 20.
This has increased from an estimated 1.33% of the population (one in 75) from the week ending 2 June.
Across the UK, the estimated prevalence of coronavirus ranges from 3.95% in England to 5.94% in Scotland for the week ending 30 June.
Ms Morgan said: “As we have seen in previous waves, the increase in cases in the community, has led to an increase in the number of people being admitted to and treated in hospital for Covid-19.”
“The latest available information shows there are now more than 960 Covid-19-related patients in Welsh hospitals and there has also been an increase in number of people with Covid-19 being treated in critical care.”
She said: “The NHS has been working incredibly hard to provide planned care for people across Wales and to reduce waiting times, which had built up over the course of the pandemic. This task becomes more difficult when pandemic pressures increase.”
“Some hospitals have taken the difficult decision to restrict visiting to prevent coronavirus from spreading among patients and staff; others are asking all visitors to wear face coverings.”
“We are not making face coverings mandatory in health and care settings , but I would encourage everyone to wear one if they are visiting a healthcare setting and I would also ask people to consider wearing a face covering in crowded indoor public places, while cases of coronavirus are currently high.”
“We have extended the availability of free lateral flow tests for people who have symptoms of coronavirus until the end of July.” Ms Morgan said.
She added: “There are a number of other simple steps everyone can take to keep themselves and Wales safe.”
- Get vaccinated
- Maintain good hand hygiene
- Stay at home and limit your contact with others if you are ill
- Wear a face covering in indoor crowded or enclosed places
- Meet others outdoors wherever possible
- When indoors, increase ventilation and let fresh air in.
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