Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Thursday, 08 September 2011

Venue: Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings

The meeting began in public session at 10.06a.m.

1. Apologies

Apologies are listed above.

2. Minutes

The minutes of the meeting on 30 June 2011 were agreed.

3. Chairperson’s business

Members noted a report of the meeting held with the CBI over recess.

The Chairperson informed members that she and several other MLAs went on a boat trip on Strangford Lough on 1 September to view marine wildlife and discuss the need for marine legislation.

Agreed: That a letter of thanks is sent to the Marine Taskforce.

The Chairperson informed members that shemet with the Mourne Heritage Trust on 18 August to view the impact of gorse fires and to discuss prevention measures and the National Park white paper.

Mr Clarke declared an interest as a board member of Mourne Heritage Trust.

Agreed: That a letter of thanks is sent to Mourne Heritage Trust.

Members noted a Departmental reply to Committee queries on gorse fires and welcomed the Minister’s intention to meet other relevant Ministers to discuss future prevention of gorse fires.

4. Matters Arising

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply to Committee queries on funding for the FareShare project.

Agreed: That the reply is forwarded to FareShare for information.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply to NILGA views on Dog Control Order consultation, a Departmental reply to Committee queries on timescale for implementation of the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act and a Departmental reply to Committee queries on costs and resources for the implementation of the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act.

Agreed: That the reply is forwarded to NILGA for a response ahead of the Departmental briefing on costs of the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act on 15 September.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply to Committee queries on the Grange Waringstown, copy of audit report into the case and further correspondence from the Warinsgstown Objectors Group.

Agreed: That the Department’s reply is forwarded to Mr Jones from the Waringstown Objectors Group for information.

Members noted a Departmental letter regarding errors in 2 Article 31 planning applications.

Ms Bradley joined the meeting at 10.30a.m.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply to Committee queries on the CRC Efficiency Scheme.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Minister expressing concern that revenue is now being lost from Northern Ireland via the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme and asking what measures he is taking to resolve this.

Members noted a Departmental reply to Committee queries on zero carbon homes.

Members noted a Departmental reply to Committee queries on the implementation of the Committee’s recommendations in its climate change report.

Members noted a DRD reply to Committee queries on The Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive – Sensitive Area Review.

Members noted a Departmental reply to Committee queries on built heritage.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply to Committee queries on the North/South Interconnector public inquiry.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department seeking clarification on their definition of ‘urgent’ and asking for a timescale for the completion of the review, a copy of the review of procedures when it is available, along with an indication of the full cost of the project to date.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply to Committee queries on the implementation of the High Hedges Act.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department expressing disappointment with the vague timeframes referred to in the reply. Members would like to see specific timelines for the implementation of this Act and request that specific dates are provided in all future responses.

Members noted a Departmental reply to Committee queries on planning policy statements.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a note of a European Issues event held on 20 June.

Agreed : That a letter is sent to the OFMDFM Committee advising that a member of the Committee would participate in this panel when it was considering relevant issues, in particular when it is considering the EU Priority of Climate Change and Energy.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply re car tax renewal facilities.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department stating that the Committee feels that the Minister needs to put more pressure on DFT ministers to ensure more car tax facilities are made available through Post Offices in Northern Ireland and that a copy of the response is forwarded to Mr Oliver McMullan MLA.

Members noted a Departmental forward work programme to December 2011. Mr McGlone joined the meeting at 10.43a.m.

Mr Kinahan joined the meeting at 10.43a.m.

5. Statutory Rules

SR 2011/232 – The Waste (Fees and Charges etc) (Amendment) Regs (NI) 2011

Question put and agreed:

That the Committee for the Environment has considered SR 2011/232 – The Waste (Fees and Charges etc) (Amendment) Regs (NI) 2011 and has no objection to this rule subject to the Examiner of Statutory Rules report.

SR 2011/235 – The Passenger and Goods Vehicle (Community Recording Equipment Regulation) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011

Question put and agreed:

That the Committee for the Environment has considered SR 2011/235 – The Passenger and Goods Vehicle (Community Recording Equipment Regulation) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011 and has no objection to this rule subject to the Examiner of Statutory Rules report.

SR 2011/238 – The Chemical Analysis of Water Status (Technical Specifications) Regs (NI) 2011

Question put and agreed:

That the Committee for the Environment has considered SR 2011/238 – The Chemical Analysis of Water Status (Technical Specifications) Regs (NI) 2011 and has no objection to this rule subject to the Examiner of Statutory Rules report.

SR 2011/239 – The Controls on Ozone-Depleting Substances Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011

Question put and agreed:

That the Committee for the Environment has considered SR 2011/239 – The Controls on Ozone-Depleting Substances Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011 and has no objection to this rule subject to the Examiner of Statutory Rules report.

Mr McGlone left the meeting at 10.49a.m.

SR 2011/240 – The Ozone-Depleting Substances (Qualifications) Regs (NI) 2011

Question put and agreed:

That the Committee for the Environment has considered SR 2011/240 – The Ozone-Depleting Substances (Qualifications) Regs (NI) 2011 and has no objection to this rule subject to the Examiner of Statutory Rules report.

SR 2011/287 – The Road Traffic (Fixed Penalty) (Offences) (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2011

Question put and agreed:

That the Committee for the Environment has considered SR 2011/287 – The Road Traffic (Fixed Penalty) (Offences) (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2011 and has no objection to this rule subject to the Examiner of Statutory Rules report.

SR 2011/288 – The Road Traffic (Fixed Penalty) (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2011

Question put and agreed:

That the Committee for the Environment has considered SR 2011/288 – The Road Traffic (Fixed Penalty) (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2011 and has no objection to this rule subject to the Examiner of Statutory Rules report.

Members noted SR 2011/285 – The Wildlife and Natural Environment (2011 Act) (Commencement No 2) Order (NI) 2011.

6. Consultations

Consultation on wedding and courtesy transport.

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

Consultation on Taxi Licence Regulations and Powers of Seizure.

Mr McGlone returned to the meeting at 10.52a.m.

Agreed: That a copy of the synopsis of responses is requested along with clarification, and written evidence, to show that enforcement is being carried out on both public and private hire taxis.

Synopsis of responses to discussion paper on an environment strategy for Northern Ireland.

Agreed: That the Department is asked to provide an oral briefing on the proposals for an environment strategy.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to Ulster Anglers Federation asking for clarification of their concerns in relation to this consultation.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking for an indication of the number of organisations that actually responded to the consultation compared to those that were invited to make a response.

Consultation on a draft amendment to Policy HS 3 ‘Travellers Accommodation’ of Planning Policy Statement (PPS) 12 – Housing Settlements.

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

Consultation on proposed introduction of regulations concerning access to driver licensing information.

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

Discussion paper on Environmental Governance in Northern Ireland.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking them for clarification on the reasons for a short consultation period, the restricted number of stakeholders consulted and the timing of the consultation over the summer period.

Agreed: That a Departmental briefing is arranged for a future Committee meeting and that the Department is asked to extend the consultation period until the Committee has had an opportunity to consider if it wishes to submit a response.

Consultation on Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act (NI) 2011 – Noise and Statutory Nuisance.

Agreed: That a copy of the synopsis of responses is requested and that a letter is sent to the Department asking what level of discussion there has been with DRD on the issue of odour nuisance at sewage treatment works.

Consultation on enabling legislation for national parks.

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

7. Departmental updates

The Chairperson informed members that they have been provided with a

Departmental update on Article 31 planning applications.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking for further clarification of the use of the term ‘consultation ongoing’ and suggesting that time limits should be considered for consultation.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department stating that the Committee feels that the Department should put a time limit on the reply period of a request for further information and asking for a written briefing paper as to why so many cases are in the system for such a long period of time. Members also requested further information on an application for a development which would appear to have commenced and members would like to know why it is still on this list.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental update on MOT pass/fail rates to June 2011.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department welcoming the conformity and consistency across all test centres.

Members noted a Departmental update on MOT pass/fail rates for HGVs.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a

Departmental infraction schedule update and a comparison table from the last Departmental update.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking for an update on implementation of the Wild Birds Directive and members would also like to know if the case involving Strangford Lough under the Habitats Directive has now been cleared with the Commission.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply to Committee queries on European funding.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking for quarterly updates.

Departmental reply regarding EU Drivers’ Hours legislation.

Agreed: Members requested an Assembly Research paper on the the impact this extension to self-employed drivers will have in Northern Ireland and, if possible, how its impact might differ here compared with GB and how other Member States are looking at implementing it.

8. Departmental briefing on synopsis of responses to PPS 23 and PPS 24 consultations.

Mr Kinahan declared an interest as the owner of a listed building.

Departmental officials briefed the Committee and answered members’ questions on the synopsis of responses to PPS 23 and PPS 24 consultations.

Agreed: That the Minister is invited to a future Committee meeting to brief on PPS 23 and PPS 24.

Agreed: That the Historic Houses Association is invited to provide a written briefing on PPS 23.

9. Committee inquiry into used tyre disposal

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with an Assembly research paper on alternative uses for tyres.

Agreed: That a research paper on artificial reefs made from used tyres is requested.

10. Correspondence

Mr McGlone left the meeting at 12.43p.m.

Mr Boylan left the meeting at 12.44p.m.

Copy of Department of Finance and Personnel response to the Treasury’s proposed Budget Exchange scheme.

Agreed: That the response is forwarded to the Department for comment.

Request from the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment for a copy of the synopsis of responses to PPS 16 consultation.

Agreed: That a copy of the synopsis of responses to the PPS 16 consultation is forwarded to the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment when available and that a copy of the ETI Committee’s research paper on the impact of PPS 16 is requested.

Email from Stop Climate Chaos requesting to meet with the Committee.

Agreed: That Stop Climate Chaos are invited to the committee’s stakeholder event on 15 September.

Memo from the ETI Committee requesting that the Committee forward to the Department correspondence regarding the ETI Committee Inquiry into Renewable Energy for comment.

Agreed: That the memo is forwarded to the Department for consideration.

Letter of response from the Department regarding correspondence received by Mr David McClarty MLA from the NI Taxi Federation.

Agreed: That the response is forwarded to Mr McClarty MLA.

Copy of Departmental press release: Publication of Annual Development Management Statistical Bulletin 2010/11.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking them to indicate why 5 out of its 7 planning performance indicators were not met and what measures are being put in place to ensure targets will be met in the future.

Copy of the Ulster Farmers’ Union key environmental issues for NI Agriculture.

Agreed: That a sub group meeting is arranged to discuss the issues.

Letter from HJ Price to the Minister copied to the Committee regarding roadside hedge removal from areas of outstanding natural beauty.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department requested that the committee are copied into the Ministers response to Mr Price.

Letter from the Causeway Coast Communities Consortium regarding the implementation of the Planning Act.

Agreed: That the letter is forwarded to the Department for comment.

Email from Mr David Gibson in relation to the investigation into the Planning Service’s handling of clay pigeon shoot application.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to Mr Gibson outlining the committee’s position.

Letter from NI Archaeological Forum requesting to meet the Committee.

Agreed: That NI Archaeological Forum is invited to the committee’s stakeholder event on 15 September.

Letter from System Operator for Northern Ireland (SONI) requesting to brief the Committee.

Agreed: That System Operator for Northern Ireland (SONI) is invited to the committee’s stakeholder event on 15 September.

Invitation to the Chair to attend the Construction Employers Federation (CEF) – Specify Construction Excellence Awards.

Members noted the following correspondence

Letter of introduction from the Charted Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM).

Letter from NICCY regarding the launch of the 2011 Participation Awards.

Departmental letter regarding the outcome of the Entertainments Licences revised fee structure and level of fees monitoring exercise.

Letter from the Environment Minister regarding the UK Committee on Climate Change.

Department of the Environment Investment Strategy for NI Activity Report – August 2011.

The Consumer Council – Consumer Manifesto

Copy of Ripple News summer 2011.

Copy of the Planning Service Annual Report & Accounts 2010/11

Copy of Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) Annual Report & Accounts 2010/11

Further correspondence from the Warringstown Objectors.

Member’s noted the following correspondence during recess.

Letter from Clerk of the Justice Committee regarding the proposed Statutory Rule draft Road Traffic Fixed Penalties (Enforcement of Fines) (Amendment) Regulations (NI) 2011.

Letter from the Clerk for the Finance and Personnel Committee in relation to the Executive’s Review of Financial Process.

Memo detailing the Public Accounts Committee forward work programme.

Note of key issues and decisions taken at the Chairpersons’ Liaison Group meeting on Tuesday 28 June 2011.

Copy of Chairpersons’ Liaison Group draft forward work programme.

Copy of Sustrans Free Range Kids report and Annual Review 2010.

Renewable Integration Project update.

Email detailing the new Northern Ireland Climate Change Impacts Partnership website.

Departmental letter regarding the DVA refurbishment of vehicle test centres.

Departmental letter regarding the UK Localism Bill.

Response from the Department of Regional Development in relation to road safety concerns at Belvedere Manor, Lurgan.

Copy of The Consumer Council report – The Price of Being Poor.

Departmental notice of pending Article 31 decision.

Copy of Rural Community Network (RCN) Policy Link.

Copy of Northern Ireland Climate Change Impacts Partnership summer news.

Correspondence from the Met Office regarding recent developments in Westminster.

Department of the Environment Investment Strategy for NI Activity Report – July 2011.

11. Any other business

Members noted a copy of the Committee’s declaration of interests.

11. Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting will be held on Thursday 15 September at 10.00a.m. in the Senate Chamber.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.46p.m.

Simon Hamilton 
Deputy Chairperson, Committee for the Environment 
15 September 2011

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