MONMOUTHSHIRE Council will ask for special exemptions over Welsh language standards due to be brought in later this year.

Draft submissions will need to be signed off by the authority before a deadline of March 30 and senior councillors are expected to agree to them being sent off.

The council could be fined if it does not adhere to the standards set.

Its equalities and Welsh language officer Alan Burkitt has proposed the council asks for more time to install its new bilingual telephone service for a bilingual service, to translate council papers and ensure that reception staff are bilingual.

The council currently employs 24 Welsh speakers but they are mostly in professional positions and unsuitable for redeployment in other roles, a report says.

In a report that council members will see on Wednesday, Mr Burkitt writes: “Countless meetings have produced much support for the standards and some areas for concern. We feel though that these areas of concern, given additional time, are achievable and the council is committed to full compliance.”