Carl Sargeant, Minister for Housing and Regeneration
As part of this Government’s ongoing measures to support the Welsh language I am today issuing updated guidance on how the language should be considered in the planning system through the publication of a revised Technical Advice Note (TAN) 20.
The TAN reflects the outcomes of the constructive debate resulting from the Y Gynhadledd Fawr – the national conversation on the Welsh language which the First Minister initiated this summer in the light of the results from the 2011 Census which show a decline in the percentage of Welsh speakers in the traditional Welsh speaking heartlands.
The Planning system can help create the social and economic conditions which give people the opportunity to speak Welsh, for example by supporting economic development and providing affordable housing in those communities where the Welsh language has been identified by local planning authorities as a significant issue. Although TAN 20 provides specific guidance on planning and the Welsh language it should not be read in isolation from the other relevant policy documents. These include Planning Policy Wales and our advice notes on Affordable Housing (TAN 2) and Planning for Sustainable Rural Communities (TAN 6), which contain provisions relevant to the challenge of sustaining Welsh speaking communities.
The revised TAN 20 states clearly that the Welsh language should be considered during the production of Local Development Plans (LDPs), as part of the Sustainability Appraisal process, where local planning authorities have identified the language as being of importance. This process ensures that the Welsh language can be embedded into the LDP ensuring that all subsequent policies, proposals and eventual site allocations will have considered the impacts on the Welsh language. LDPs are subject to public consultation and independent examination, and when adopted give certainty to communities and developers alike regarding the scale and location of development over a 10-15 year period. Further practical guidance will be developed for local planning authorities to assist them with assessing the potential impacts of the LDP proposals on the Welsh language in their area as part of the Sustainability Appraisal. I am pleased that the Welsh Language Commissioner has agreed that research she has commissioned can be used to inform this work.
The TAN reminds local planning authorities that the Welsh Language Commissioner is a consultee to LDPs and we expect them to engage with the Commissioner at the earliest opportunity in order that Welsh language considerations are explored and addressed adequately during the plan making process.