Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2012/2013

Date: Thursday, 08 November 2012

Venue: Room 30

The meeting began in public session at 10:11am.

1. Apologies

Apologies are listed above.

2. Minutes

The minutes of the meeting on 25 October 2012 were agreed.

3. Chairperson’s business

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with an invitation from NILGA to participate in its annual conference on Thursday 28 February 2013 in the Everglades Hotel, Derry/Londonderry.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to NILGA accepting their invitation to participate in the event.

Agreed: That the Committee will hold its meeting on Thursday 28 February 2013 in the Everglades Hotel, Derry/Londonderry.

Members noted the Committee Forward Work Programme to December 2012.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a copy of a draft agenda for an update meeting with the DOE Permanent Secretary on Tuesday 13 November 2012.

Agreed: The agenda was agreed, subject to a number of amendments.

4. Matters arising 

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply to Committee queries on Annesley Gardens, Castlewellan.

Agreed: That a copy of the reply is forwarded to the original correspondent.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with an updated version of the Department’s Programme for Government Delivery Plans.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking for updates on its framework proposals for consulting in relation to halting the loss of biodiversity and on its consultation on the statutory management scheme for Rathlin Island marine N2K site.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply to Committee queries on how the Voluntary Early Retirement scheme for Planning Officers fits in with the planning workforce model.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department requesting a more detailed response on the development of the scheme, as the Voluntary Early Retirement Scheme was not mentioned in the original Departmental briefing to the Committee on the planning workforce model.

Members noted a Departmental reply on the Draft Terms of Reference for the Political Reference Group and a Departmental reply regarding membership of the Group.

Mr Weir declared an interest as a prospective member of the Political Reference Group.

Mr Boylan declared an interest as a prospective member of the Political Reference Group.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply to Committee queries on the MOT contract review.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department raising Committee concerns about how public money is being spent on this issue and asking for a detailed breakdown of spend and how any profits are being distributed.

Agreed: That a copy of the reply is forwarded to the Audit Office, via the Public Accounts Committee, for comment.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply to Committee queries on Local Government Reform proposals.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking for an update on the initiation of its Communication Strategy, which the Programme for Government Delivery Plans indicate would be done by end September 2012.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply to Committee queries on planning processing times.

Agreed:That a letter is sent to the Department asking why strategic planning applications appear to be taking longer to process than other applications.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply regarding the application of Goods Vehicles Operator Licensing to recovery vehicles.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Minister expressing the Committee’s concerns that the process is onerous and costly for small recovery vehicle operators.  Also inform the Minister that the Committee believes there should be an urgent review of the Operator Licensing process including exemptions.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply to Committee queries on the Committee on Climate Change Report.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department expressing the Committee’s disappointment with the response and ask the Department to contact DETI to answer the original query and ask if it is confident that it can reach its renewable energy targets.

Members noted a Departmental reply to Committee queries on the DOE and DVA Corporate Plans and Business Plans.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with correspondence from Mr Jones on The Grange, Waringstown.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Planning Appeals Commission requesting a copy of their report on The Grange, Waringstown.

Agreed: That copies of the OFMdFM and Departmental replies are forwarded to Mr Jones, reiterating that the Committee has gone as far as it can on this issue.

5. Consultations

Consultation on Draft Revised Waste Management Strategy for Northern Ireland.

Agreed: That a copy of the synopsis of responses is requested.

Consultation on Special Occasion and Novelty Vehicles.

Agreed: That a copy of the synopsis of responses is requested.

6. Proposals for secondary legislation

SL1 – Proposed Amendments to the Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) Regulation (Northern Ireland) 1996 and to the Road Traffic (Northern Ireland) Order 1981 to ensure compliance with the Third EC Directive on Driving Licences.

Agreed: That the Committee is content for the Department to proceed with the policy.

SL1 – The Single Use Carrier Bags Charge Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012

Agreed: That the Committee is content for the Department to proceed with the policy.

Departmental reply to Committee queries about policy proposals for the Pollution Prevention and Control (Industrial Emissions) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012.

Agreed: That the Committee is content for the Department to proceed with the policy.

7. Statutory Rule

SR 2012/379 – The Smoke Control Areas (Exempted Fireplaces) (No 2) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012

Question put and agreed: That the Committee for the Environment has considered Statutory Rule 2012/379 – The Smoke Control Areas (Exempted Fireplaces) (No 2) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 and has no objection to the rule subject to the Examiner of Statutory Rules report.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a copy of the Examiner of Statutory Rules’ 4th Report.  Members noted that he had no comments on the draft Rule – Local Government (Indemnities for Members and Officers) Order (Northern Ireland) 2012 and that this Rule will be subject to affirmative procedure in plenary in due course.

8. Departmental updates

Members noted Seats for Sale and Extensions Log information which was supplied by George Best Belfast City Airport on 14 August 2012 and 5 October 2012.

Members noted a Departmental update on post project evaluations.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply to Committee queries on Article 31 planning applications.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department expressing the Committee’s disappointment with the response.  Also ask for the reasons for delays with each application as the Committee is trying to assist the Department in moving the applications forward.

9. Correspondence

Copy of DOE/NIEA Drinking Water Quality in Northern Ireland 2011 Report.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking for more information on the additional measures it will require next year to reduce breaches of odour and aluminium standards and the anticipated costs these are likely to incur.

Departmental reply to queries raised by the Committee for Regional Development in relation to Rathlin Island and environmental regulations in respect of hard-core materials.

Agreed: That a copy of the correspondence is forwarded to the Committee for Regional Development.

Copy of Research and Information Service briefing paper on the Committee’s Marine Scotland visit.

Agreed: That the Research and Information Service briefing paper is placed on the Committee’s website.

Copy of consultation on European Court of Justice ruling in the case C-236/09 Gender Neutral Insurance Benefits and Premiums.

Agreed: That a copy of the correspondence is forwarded to the Department for comment on the possible implications for road safety.

Correspondence from the Committee for Education in relation to school transport.

Agreed: That a copy of the correspondence is forwarded to the Department for comment.

Departmental reply to queries raised by the Committee for Education in relation to non-compliant vehicles and Operation Coachman.

Agreed: That a copy of the correspondence is forwarded to the Committee for Education.

Correspondence from concerned residents in relation to planning application Z/2009/1607/F.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking for an update on the position of the planning application.

Departmental reply to Committee queries on the Department’s submission to the Draft Aviation Policy Framework.

Agreed: That a copy of the correspondence is forwarded to Belfast City Airport Watch.

Departmental reply to queries raised by the Committee for Health, Social Services and Public Safety in relation to health inequalities.

Agreed: That a copy of the correspondence is forwarded to the Committee for Health, Social Services and Public Safety.

Members noted the following correspondence:

Email from WesPac Energy and Water in relation to Ferrate Treatment Technology.

Department of Agriculture and Rural Development reply to Committee queries on EU Vehicle Tests.

Office for the First Minister and deputy First Minister reply to Committee queries on the Planning Appeals Commission and the public inquiry into the modification of the planning agreement in respect of George Best Belfast City Airport.

Mr Hamilton left the meeting at 10:47am.

10. Departmental briefing on Marine Bill – Displacement

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply on displacement, replies from ANIFPO and the Marine Taskforce and a draft Committee amendment.

Departmental Officials briefed the Committee and answered members’ questions on the Marine Bill, specifically on the issue of displacement.

The main areas of discussion were the potential displacement impacts of individual and cumulative MCZs and how and when such impacts will be assessed in the MCZ designation process.

11. Departmental briefing on Savings Delivery Plans 2012 – 2015

Departmental Officials briefed the Committee and answered members’ questions on Savings Delivery Plans 2012 – 2015.

The main areas of discussion were the background to the Department’s Savings Delivery Plans and the ongoing review of these plans.

12. Met Office briefing on the scientific understanding of climate change

Representatives from the Met Office briefed the Committee and answered members’ questions on the scientific understanding of climate change.

The main areas of discussion were the causes of global warming and climate projections for the UK.

Mr Weir left the meeting at 12:02pm.

13. Any other business

14. Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting will be held on Thursday 15 November 2012 at 10:00am in Clotworthy House, Antrim.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12:26pm.

Anna Lo, MLA
Chairperson, Committee for the Environment
15 November 2012

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