ASSEMBLY BUSINESS

Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Venue: Room 30, Parliament Buildings

1.34 p.m.        The meeting commenced in Open Session

1. Apologies

There were no apologies.

2. Chairperson’s business

The Chairperson advised the Committee that the Minister has issued a Press Release to confirm that the Department has decided to include a specific reference to Bovine TB in the draft Programme for Government. The Chairperson welcomed the announcement and advised that the Committee would be following the progress being made by the Department.

Members were referred to and asked to complete a form regarding attendance and transport for the visit to Greyabbey Farm on 29 March 2012.

1.37 p.m. Mr Buchanan and Mr W Clarke joined the meeting.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to commence the Committee meeting on 20 March 2012 at the normal time of 1.30 p.m. and suspend from 2.00 p.m. to 2.30 p.m. for Minister’s Question Time.

3. Minutes

Agreed: The Committee agreed the Minutes of the meeting of 28 February 2012.

4. Matters arising

Noted: The Committee noted the correspondence from the Department regarding Schmallenberg Virus and the Land Parcel ID Scheme.

Noted: The Committee noted the correspondence from the Department regarding the Fishing Fleet Decommissioning Scheme.

Noted: The Committee noted the correspondence from the Department regarding Research and Development in the Agri-Food Sector.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward the note of the NIRDP Stakeholder event to the Department for comment prior to the briefing on 17 April 2012.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to publish the NIRDP Stakeholder Event

Report onto the Committee website and provide a copy to all participants. 

5. SL1: The Forestry Land Byelaws (NI) 2012

The following departmental officials joined the meeting:

Malcolm Beatty, Chief Executive

John Joe O’Boyle, Director of Forestry

Michael McCann, Deputy Principal

The officials briefed the Committee and this was followed by a question and answer session.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department to raise a number of issues raised in relation to the Forestry Land Byelaws and to request that departmental officials brief the Committee in a year’s time following implementation of the legislation.

1.50 p.m. Mr T Clarke joined the meeting.

The Committee considered the Forestry Land Byelaw (NI) 2012 and were content with the policy merits as set out in the SL1.

1.55 p.m. Mrs Kelly joined the meeting.

1.56 p.m. Mr Irwin and Mr Swann left the meeting.         

6.    SL1: Dogs (Licensing and Identification) Regulations

The Committee considered the Dogs (Licensing and Identification) Regulations and were content with the policy merits as set out in the SL1.

7. SR: The Welfare of Animals (Permitted procedures by Lay Persons) Regulations (NI) 2012

Question put and agreed:

That the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development has considered the Welfare of Animals (Permitted Procedures by Lay Persons) Regulations (NI) 2012 and recommends that it is affirmed by the Assembly.           

8.    Correspondence

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward correspondence from the Committee for Regional Development to the Department regarding Rural Transport funding, to the Department for a response.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department to seek clarification on a number of issues regarding the Draft Felling of Trees Regulations and to advise that the Committee are content that the regulations are delayed as requested by the Department.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department to ask if the Business Plan contains any proposals regarding protection of ancient woodlands.

Noted: The Committee noted the invitation from the Public Health Agency and the Department to the launch of the MARA project on 15 March 2012.

Noted: The Committee noted the correspondence from the Department regarding a Progress Report on the DARD Business Plan.

Noted: The Committee noted the correspondence from the Department regarding the Fisheries Administrations Response to Discussions with Stakeholders on the Future of the Sea Fish Industry Authority (Seafish).

Noted: The Committee noted the correspondence from the Department regarding Flood Risk Assessment dealing with PPS15, capacity and funding for Rivers Agency and hardship payments.

Noted: The Committee noted the correspondence from the Finance and Personnel Committee regarding an oral evidence session with the Performance and Efficiency Delivery Unit on the Programme for Government 2011-2015.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward correspondence from Professor Elliott on the DARD Post Graduate Scheme to the Department for comment.

2.26 p.m. Mrs Boyle and Mr W Clarke left the meeting

9. Forward Work Programme 

Agreed: The Committee agreed that the first thematic review to be undertaken would be the Reduction/Eradication measures for Bovine TB.

Agreed: The Committee agreed the Forward Work Programme.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Environment Minister to seek an update on the Rose Energy Incinerator plant.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to invite Mr Simon Coveney TD and MEPs to meet with the Committee to discuss issues of common concern.

2.36 p.m. Mr T Clarke left the meeting.

10. Any other business

There was no other business.

Strangford Lough

11. Clerks Memo and RaISe Research Paper

Noted: The Committee noted the clerk’s memo and the RaISe Research paper on issues surrounding Strangford Lough.

12. Ulster Wildlife Trust Briefing

The following representatives joined the meeting:

Joe Furphy, Chairman

Heather Thompson, Chief Executive

Victoria Magreehan, Strategic Development Director

Dr Jade Berman, Living Sea Manager

The representatives briefed the Committee and this was followed by a question and answer session.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to move into closed session as requested by the Ulster Wildlife Trust.

3.00 p.m. The meeting went into closed session.

3.02 p.m. Mr W Clarke rejoined the meeting.

3.03 p.m. Mr Irwin rejoined the meeting.

3.06 p.m. Mr McCarthy joined the meeting.

3.15 p.m. Mr Buchanan left the meeting.

13. DARD Briefing

The following officials joined the meeting:

Dr John Speers, Director of Fisheries and Environment

Graham Seymour, Director of Natural Heritage, NIEA

Mark McCaughan, Chief Fisheries Officer

The officials briefed the Committee in closed session and this was followed by a question and answer session.

3.37 p.m. Mrs Kelly left the meeting

4.07 p.m. Mr McCarthy left the meeting

4.15 p.m. Mr McMullan left the meeting

4.31 p.m. Mr Swann left the meeting

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department to request a copy of the submission paper which was forwarded to the European Commission regarding Strangford Lough.

14. Date and time of the next meeting

Agreed: The next meeting of the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development will take place on Tuesday 20 March 2012, at 1.30pm, Room 30 Parliament Buildings.

The meeting was adjourned at 4.37 p.m.

Paul Frew, Chairperson, Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development

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