ALAN Simpson’s research should have prevented him from conflating three things: the Gaelic language; the requirements of the Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005 and the performance of Bòrd na Gàidhlig ("It is time to rip up the approach to Gaelic and start again", The Herald, January 23).

The Bòrd did not instigate plans or require bilingual signs to be erected. Bilingual road signs were first approved in the time of the Scottish Office when Donald Dewar was Secretary of State. Other authorisations followed through the Labour/LibDem Scottish Executive, notably in 2003. Not only did that government’s Gaelic Language (Scotland) Act 2005 expect public bodies across the country to have a Gaelic Language Plan but it set up the Bòrd too, to oversee such plans; the plans are not the Bòrd’s doing.

An examination of place names should readily confirm to Mr Simpson that the Gaelic language was spoken over much of the country at one time. In a previous letter I have suggested that there is nothing to stop a local authority from promoting Scots, indeed I would support that, though there exists no obligation or power similar to that in the 2005 Act above.

Mr Simpson’s closing call for a more measured and methodical approach is exactly what Gaelic Language Plans should comprise.

John C Hutchison, Fort William.