Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Thursday, 17 May 2012

Venue: The Senate Chamber

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

1. Apologies

Apologies are listed above.

2. Minutes

The minutes of the meeting on 10 May 2012 were agreed.

3. Matters arising 

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Department of Justice reply to Committee queries on the Cross Departmental Working Group on Wild Fires.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking them to invite the Department of Justice and/or the PSNI to participate in the Cross Departmental Working Group on Wild Fires.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply to Committee queries on the Rose Energy planning application.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking why there is a delay in making a decision on this application.  Also ask for confirmation that a decision will be made no later than September 2012.

Agreed: That the Department’s letter is forwarded to the Committee for Agriculture and rural Development for information.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Department of Agriculture and Rural Development reply to Committee queries on the Rural Development Programme and dedicated walking routes.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to those District Councils who failed to respond to the original Committee query on Access Officers and dedicated walking routes.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental letter in relation to Local Government Pension Scheme (Amendment No.2) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2010.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking if the Ulster Dairy Farmers Limited have appealed against the decision of the judicial review.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply to Committee queries on its legislative timetable.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking if there is any other Primary Legislation planned that is not included on the timetable.  Also to ask for a timescale for the introduction of a climate change bill for Northern Ireland.

Mr Boylan joined the meeting at 10:24am.

Members noted a Departmental reply to Committee queries on the Local Government (Payment to Councillors) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012.

Mr Weir declared an interest as a member of North Down Borough Council.

Members noted a Departmental reply to Committee queries on police access to driver licensing records.

4. Consultation

Synopsis of responses to consultation on Strangford Lough byelaw.

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

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking that the byelaw is reviewed regularly and that the Committee is kept informed of its impact.

Mr Hamilton left the meeting at 10:33am.

5. Departmental Update

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with an infraction schedule update and an analysis since the last Departmental update.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department expressing the Committee’s disappointment that no infraction cases have been cleared since the last update.

6. Proposal for Secondary Legislation

SL1 – Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases Amendment Regulations NI 2012

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

7. Statutory Rule

Draft SR – The Goods Vehicles (Licensing of Operators) (Exemption) Regulations (NI) 2012.

Agreed: That the Committee agreed to recommend that the Rule be approved by the Assembly.

Mr Hamilton re-joined the meeting at 10:38am.

8. Departmental briefing on Local Government (Boundaries) Order

Departmental officials briefed the Committee and answered members’ questions on the Local Government (Boundaries) Order.

The main areas of discussion were the modifications to the recommendations of the Local Government Boundaries Commissioner and the next steps in the Boundaries Order process.

Mr Elliott joined the meeting at 10:50am.

Mr Dallat left the meeting at 10:52am.

Agreed: That the Committee agreed to recommend that the Rule be approved by the Assembly.

Mr Elliott wanted it recorded that he was opposed to this decision.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking for a timescale for the implementation of the Boundaries Order once it has been approved by the Assembly.  Also to ask for electorate numbers for the two Warrenpoint wards proposed by Newry and Mourne District Council, the percentage by which they would breach the rules and an overall timetable for Local Government Reform including financial information.

Agreed: That a letter to Newry and Mourne District Council explaining the Committee’s position in relation to their request regarding the Boundaries Order is drafted for members’ approval.

Mr Hamilton left the meeting at 11:05am.

9. Marine Bill

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a copy of a letter from the Department of Regional Development in relation to the Marine Bill.

Agreed: That the Committee will accept a late submission from DRD.

10. National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations/Anglo-Northern Ireland

Fish Producers’ Organisation briefing on the Marine Bill

Representatives from the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations/Anglo-Northern Ireland Fish Producers’ Organisation briefed the Committee and answered members’ questions on the Marine Bill.

Mr Hamilton re-joined the meeting at 11:15am.

Mr Dallat re-joined the meeting at 11:28am.

The main areas of discussion were the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations/Anglo-North Ireland Fish Producers’ Organisation submission in relation to the Marine Bill and their proposals for amendments to the Bill.

Mr Elliott left the meeting at 11:58am.

Mr Hamilton left the meeting at 12:03pm.

11. Correspondence

Correspondence from the Public Hire Coalition regarding additional outstanding issues.

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

Correspondence from the Freshwater Taskforce seeking to brief the Committee regarding sustainable water use and EU targets.

Agreed: That the Freshwater Taskforce is added to the list of stakeholders to be invited to a Committee stakeholder event.

Copy of press release detailing new EU funding for eco-innovation projects/products.

Agreed: That a copy of this press release is forwarded to the Department asking what action they are taking to promote the funding in Northern Ireland.

Members noted an invitation to Northern Ireland Environment Link Conference &AGM – ‘The Partnership Approach’.

Members noted the following correspondence:

Correspondence from the Department of the Environment Marine Plan Team (MPT) regarding the commencement of formal work on the first marine plan for Northern Ireland.

Correspondence from the Department of Finance and Personnel and the Committee for Finance and Personnel in relation to the proposed review of Budget allocation for 2013/14 and 2014/15.

Copy of the Consumer Council ‘Energising Northern Ireland’ Report.

May 2012 edition of NILGA’s information bulletin.

12. Any other business

Members noted an updated copy of the Committee’s Forward Work Programme.

13. Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting will be held on Thursday 24 May 2012 at 10:00am in the Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12:10pm.

Anna Lo, MLA
Chairperson, Committee for the Environment
24 May 2012

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