CAMPAIGN group Cymdeithas yr Iaith has welcomed new regulations requiring local authorities in Wales to provide education courses such as swimming lessons in Welsh.

The new rules under the Welsh Government’s Welsh Language Standards apply to “any seminar, training, workshop or similar provision which is provided in order to educate or to improve the skills of members of the public" and come into force today, Wednesday.

The organisation’s language rights spokeswoman Manon Elin welcomed the new rules.

"It is imperative that swimming lessons and similar activities are available in Welsh – not only so that the language can thrive outside the classroom, but also to respect children's rights, regardless their background, to learn and enjoy in the language of their country,” she said.

“It's great news that the law, as of today, recognizes that right, and that county councils in all parts of the country are obliged to provide swimming lessons and other courses in Welsh.

"It would be good if people in all parts of Wales contacted their county council and their local leisure centres to ensure that everyone is aware of the new right and the exciting opportunities that come with it.

"The process of setting Welsh Language Standards has been much too complicated, but despite the weaknesses, if implemented properly they will be a step forward.

“They give the right not only to swimming lessons, but also the right to talk to authorities in Welsh by telephone, and in person, and to see the Welsh language on their websites and buildings - which is to be welcomed.