"Sign Language Legislation in the European Union", Wheatley, M., A. Pabsch., Edition II. Brussels, EUD, 2012:
"British Sign Langauge is recognised as a language in its own right. this recognition is not enshrined in any legislation but was issued by the Department for Work and Pension as a press release on 18 March 2003. It states:
'The Government recognises that British Sign Language (BSL) is a language in its own right regularly used by a significant number of people. For an estimated 70,000 deaf people it is their preferred language for participation in everyday life. BSL is a visual-gestural language with its own vocabulary, grammar and syntax.'
In the Scottish Parliament a public consultation on a Proposal for a Bill to make BSL an official language of Scotland was launched in July 2010. The Bill states that although there was recognition of BSL in 2003, it is lacking legal protection to ensure full access to information, education, and other areas of life."
A number of Acts mention sign language or sign language interpreters as well as specifically British Sign language.
The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA 1995 and 2005) is the main source of anti-discrimination legislation in the UK. Although not explicitly mentioning sign language, it de facto provides services, such as sign language interpretation ("reasonable adjustments") for Deaf people."
Number of Deaf Sign Language Users
77,000 (EUD website, December 2016)
Wikipedia: In 2016 the British Deaf Association says that, based on official statistics, it believes there are 151,000 people who use BSL in the UK, and 87,000 of these are deaf. This figure does not include professional BSL users, interpreters, translators, etc. unless they use BSL at home.
National Sign Language (Research) Centres
- Deafness Cognition and Language (DCAL) Research Centre, University College London