PLANS to introduce Gaelic on road signs across Scotland have been branded a waste of money and potentially dangerous.

The Scottish Government is planning to implement proposals from the Gaelic Language Board – Scotland's Gaelic agency – to have dual language signs for towns and cities on motorways and dual carriageways across the country, as reported in later editions of yesterday's Evening Times.

The board hopes it will boost tourism and help increase the number of people learning Gaelic.

Chief executive John MacKay said: "We want Gaelic to be more visible in Scotland to normalise it in Scottish life for those learning it.

"We want the next generation of children to feel comfortable about being bi-lingual in a Scotland that visibly recognises the importance of that element of Scotland's identity."

The move follows a similar scheme that saw Gaelic place names put up at many railway stations, including in Glasgow and throughout the Strathclyde transport region.

If the roads move goes ahead the Gaelic lettering will be put on new signs only when old ones need to be replaced.

However, the plans have been labelled wasteful when there is a need for road repairs in towns and cities.

Neil Greig, director of policy and research with the Institute Of Advanced Motoring, said: "There are better ways to spend money on road maintenance than putting Gaelic on signs.

"There is a backlog of potholes and repairs needed across the country.

"I know the plan is to change when signs need replaced, but there is always a cost – signs will be bigger with extra lines of words added."

As well as finance, Mr Greig said there could be a safety issue, with Gaelic signs providing yet another layer of detail for drivers to understand on busy roads.

He added: "There is also the potential for distraction to motorists because of people taking longer to read the signs.

"In the busy Central Belt having to process more information could be a problem.

"It may be appropriate in the Highlands, but on Central Belt motorways it is different."

Gaelic speakers account for just 1% of Scotland's population, but about 10% of those speakers live in Glasgow, the highest outside the Western Isles.

The city has a Gaelic school and the language is used on council signs and some official communications.