Leading Welsh barrister to deliver keynote lecture on community planning and the Welsh language

On Thursday 19 April, leading barrister Gwion Lewis will deliver a keynote lecture about community planning and the Welsh language, where he will set out his own proposals on reform.

The lecture, entitled 'Cynllunio a'r iaith Gymraeg: Sut i godi tai a chael miliwn o siaradwyr erbyn 2050' / 'Planning and the Welsh language: How to build houses and reach a million speakers by 2050' will be held in the Senedd in Cardiff Bay from 1.30pm. The lecture is organised by Swansea University’s research-based think tank, The Morgan Academy.

Gwion Lewis









During the lecture, Mr Lewis will set out his vision for a new tier of community plans, to give communities in Wales more control over the development that takes place in their area. He will also argue that lessons should be drawn from environmental law about how the impact of development on the Welsh language should be assessed and managed.

Since 2017, Mr Lewis has been a member of the Welsh Language Partnership Council, which is responsible for advising the Welsh ministers on matters relating to the Welsh language.

Speaking ahead of the lecture, Mr Lewis said: “The enactment of the Planning (Wales) Act 2015 showed that the Assembly has an appetite for establishing a new body of Welsh planning law that is tailored to the needs of Wales. However, most of the changes were procedural in nature, rather than substantive. I think that the time has come to ask fundamental questions about whether the current planning system gives Welsh communities sufficient control over development in their area. Is it time to legislate for community planning? We also need to shift the debate so that the relationship between development and the vitality of Welsh-speaking communities is seen as an opportunity, not a "problem". I hope that this lecture will start this process”.

Helen Mary Jones, Deputy Director of The Morgan Academy, said: "The Morgan Academy is delighted to be hosting this very important and timely debate which we trust will make a significant contribution to the development of Welsh Government planning policy as new policies develop”.

About Gwion Lewis

Gwion Lewis obtained a BA and BCL in Jurisprudence from Jesus College, Oxford. He is a former US-UK Fulbright Scholar and has an LLM from New York University specialising in international human rights, language rights and the interface between law and security. After graduating from New York University, he undertook research for his first book, Hawl i’r Gymraeg (The Right to Welsh), at the European University Institute in Florence, as the Saunders Lewis Scholar.

Mr Lewis was called to the Bar in 2005 and has since become a leading barrister with Landmark Chambers in London, specialising in public, planning, environmental, EU and public international law. He is a member of the “A” Panel of Junior Counsel for both the UK Government and the Welsh Government, which means that he regularly acts for both governments in their most complex cases.