Having listened to the recording again, it is clear that Cllr Callum Higgins inserted the words "need clarification and strengthening" before the rest of his amendment which referred the matter back to the Task and Finish Group.
The rest of this piece has been amended to reflect that, although the outcome was still to kick the matter into the long grass.
Nevertheless, the author of this blog apologises for the error in the original post.
The Press Office in Carmarthen is no stranger to controversy, and this week it was back on form once again with what has to be one of the most misleading and dishonest press releases imaginable (see below). The subject was the debate at the June meeting of the council on the Welsh language and planning.
In its motion, Plaid called on the Welsh Government to substantially strengthen TAN20 (the planning guidelines which deal with the language) and to set up a statutory body to handle language impact assessments.
Labour responded with an "amendment" (see below for the texts of the motion and the amendment) which simply said that the whole issue should be left to a cross-party Task and Finish group.
Given that Carwyn Jones has asked for input from interested parties and that the Welsh Government is expected finally to set out its plans on the matter this autumn, the effect of the amended motion will be to rule out any participation by the County Council in the consultation process because the Task and Finish group will not report until early next year.
Carmarthenshire will not have a say on the future shape of planning policy as it affects the language.
You would never have guessed that from the press release which reads as follows (comments in red):
Carmarthenshire councillors have agreed that current guidance on the impact of planning and development on the Welsh language needs to be clarified and strengthened.
Councillors - debating the issue during Full Council - made reference to the First Minister’s recent call for views on the planning policies and guidelines relating to the Welsh language, which is known as TAN 20. [Yes they did, but they decided to ignore Carwyn Jones's request]
Members of a cross-party Task and Finish group, recently established to look at the Welsh language and Census, have been asked to include the matter in their deliberations.
Having fully investigated the issue, they will then recommend what representations should be made to the Welsh Government. [When it's too late]
Cllr Callum Higgins, who put forward an amendment to a notice of motion submitted to council by Cllr Alun Lenny, said during the meeting: “We are all in agreement that TAN 20 needs to be strengthened". [Not true either judging from some of the comments made by Cllr Higgins' supporters, such as Cllr Giles Morgan.]
The debate was in response to a motion tabled by Cllr Alun Lenny from the Plaid group, which read as follows:
This County Council believes that the present policies and guidelines relating to the Welsh language in the field of planning and development are seriously inadequate and calls on the Welsh Government to: i) substantially strengthen TAN20 (currently being revised) by making a development’s possible impact on the Welsh language a material planning consideration in individual applications; and ii) establish a statutory Agency to objectively assess the possible impact on the Welsh language in individual planning applications in order to advise Local Planning Authorities and make recommendations, if necessary.
After the introductory speeches, Callum Higgins (Lab) rose to introduce an amendment to insert the following words after "planning and development":
"need clarification and strengthening. The Council asks the recently established cross-party Task and Finish Group on the Welsh Language and the census to include this matter in their deliberations and to make recommendations as to what representations the County Council should make to the Welsh Government in this respect".
Unfortunately this press release was picked up and reprinted in its entirety by at least one local newspaper.
The lesson once again for newspaper editors is to approach County Hall press releases with a extreme caution.