Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2012/2013

Date: Thursday, 28 February 2013

Venue: Key Largo Room, Everglades Hotel, Derry/Londonderry

The meeting began in public session at 10:02am.

1. Apologies

Apologies are listed above.

2. Minutes

The minutes of the meeting on 14 February 2013 were agreed.

3. Chairperson’s business 

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a note of a meeting held with the Department of Environment Permanent Secretary.

Agreed: That the action points from the meeting are forwarded to the Department for comment.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a note of a meeting held with the Director of the Department’s Marine Division.

Agreed: That the action points from the meeting are forwarded to the Department for comment.

Agreed: That a visit to the Marine Division in Lisburn, where the operational marine scientists are based, is arranged.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a note of a meeting held with the League Against Cruel Sports.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking when the consultation on Snares will issue.

Mr Boylan joined the meeting at 10:06am.

Mr McElduff joined the meeting at 10:07am.

4. Matters Arising 

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with the all-island Used Tyre Survey Report commissioned by the Department.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department requesting a briefing on the Used Tyre Survey Report at the meeting on 21 March 2013.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department requesting a progress report on the implementation of the recommendations from the Committee’s inquiry into used tyre disposal.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department expressing the Committee’s disappointment that it was not informed formally of the funding package for Local Government Reform and request a copy of the correspondence on funding that issued to all Councillors.  Also ask if the details of the funding were included on the news sheet on the Department’s website.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department requesting a briefing from the Minister on Local Government Reform funding before Easter Recess.

Members noted a Departmental reply to Committee queries on the Vehicle Testing Strategic Review.

Members noted a Departmental reply to Committee queries on the recycling of IT equipment.

Members noted a Departmental update on the Modiolus restoration Plan.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply to Committee queries on safeguards in the Planning Service to prevent and detect fraud.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department requesting a copy of the Audit Office’s report on fraud awareness within Planning Service when it becomes available.

Members noted an Assembly Research paper on Anaerobic Digestion in the UK and EU requested by the Committee on 6 December 2012.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a request from the Federation of Passenger Transport to brief the Committee.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Federation of Passenger Transport inviting them to brief the Committee on the issue of Bus Operator Licensing.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with an invitation to the Department’s EU Funding Workshop.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department accepting the invitation to this Workshop.

Members noted a Departmental reply to Committee queries on wind farm planning applications.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply to Committee queries on the removal of graffiti from Derry City Walls.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department noting recent media coverage of the damage to the Walls due to the installation of lighting and asking what actions the Department is taking to resolve this situation and the costs involved.

Mrs Kelly left the meeting at 10:21am.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply to Committee queries on warning lights on school buses.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department noting the recent accident involving a school bus in Downpatrick and asking if there are any lessons to be learnt from this incident.

Members noted a Departmental reply to Committee queries on the Voluntary Early Redundancy Scheme for Planners.

Members noted a Departmental reply to Committee queries on the MOT contract.

Members noted a Departmental reply to Committee queries on the impact of the Marine Bill on the Larne Marina planning application.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with requests to meet from the Accessible Taxis Association and Public Hire Coalition in relation to the SL1 on Single Tier Taxi Licensing. 

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Accessible Taxi Association and the Public Hire Coalition informing them that the Committee will receive a briefing from officials and keep the issue under review.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply to Public Hire Coalition queries on implementation of the Taxis Act.

Agreed: That a copy of the Departmental reply is forwarded to the Public Hire Coalition for information.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a review report on Taxi Ranks and the Introduction of Exclusion Zones.

Agreed: That this report is included in the meeting pack for the meeting on 14 March 2013.

Mrs Kelly rejoined the meeting at 10:26am.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply to Committee queries on the Waste Infrastructure Gateway Review update.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department noting that the revised NI Analysis of Residual Infrastructure Requirements in Northern Ireland shows any one of the projects would provide sufficient capacity to provide assurance of NI-wide compliance at 2020 and asking what the long term implications would be of only having one plant and what thoughts the Department has on targets beyond 2020.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with an OFMdFM Committee memo seeking comments on the Explanatory Memorandum on Alternative Fuels Infrastructure.  Members were also provided with a Departmental reply on the issue.

Agreed: That the Department’s comments are forwarded to the OFMdFM Committee.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental letter on progress on motor insurance costs.

Agreed: That a copy of the letter is forwarded to the All Party Group on the Cost of Motor Insurance in Northern Ireland for information.

5. Statutory Rules 

Draft Statutory Instrument – The CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme Order 2013

Agreed: That the committee is content with the Statutory Instrument, subject to the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments’ report.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department requesting that the Committee is kept informed of a date for the debate on this Statutory Instrument.

Members noted SR 2013/33 – The Waste (Amendment) (2007 Order) (Commencement No 3) Order (Northern Ireland) 2013.

Members noted SR 2013/34 – The Waste and Contaminated Land (Amendment) (2011 Act) (Commencement No 2) Order (Northern Ireland) 2013.

6. Planning Bill

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply to Committee queries raised during the Second Stage debate.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking for a reply to the query raised by Jim Allister MLA on the human rights implications for introducing a restriction that only new information could be presented at appeals.

7. Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply to Committee queries on repeat drink drive offenders.  Members were also provided with a copy of the synopsis of responses to the Department’s consultation on the “Draft Road Traffic (Drink Driving) (Amendment) Bill and additional measures to tackle drink and drug driving in Northern Ireland”.

Agreed: That these papers are included in the meeting pack for the meeting on 14 March 2013.

Members noted a Departmental letter on the drafting of the Bill.

Members noted a Departmental reply to Committee queries on road safety education in schools.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Road Safety Authority reply on road safety in rural areas.

Agreed: That a copy of the reply is forwarded to the Department for comment, particularly on the proposals to look at new initiatives to improve the response times of emergency services.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to Department asking if they have considered initiating a working group with the Department of Regional Development to examine the criteria that has to be met to undertake road improvements.

8. Correspondence

Members noted the following correspondence:

Correspondence on the Business in the Community’s 2013 Northern Ireland Impact Awards.

Departmental reply to queries forwarded by the Committee on behalf of the Committee for Employment and Learning in relation to Local Council Employability Programmes.

Invitation from OFMdFM Committee and the Northern Ireland Assembly & Business Trust talk/visit from the Minister of State for European Affairs, Lucinda Creighton TD, on Wednesday 6 March 2013.

Copy of Explanatory Memorandum on European Union documents (EM5864/13) General Report on Reach Report from the Commission to the European Parliament.

Correspondence from the Department of Finance & Personnel on the monitoring of Departmental Savings Delivery Plans.

Copy of NIEL News – February 2013.

Copy of the UK Government response to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Late Payment Consultation.

Invitation to attend the Ulster Farmers’ Union’s Annual Dinner on Friday 22 March.

Agreed: That the Chairperson should represent the Committee at this event.

9. Any other business

10. Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting will be held on Thursday 14 March 2013 at 10:00am in Room 30, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 10:49am.

Anna Lo, MLA
Chairperson, Committee for the Environment
14 March 2013

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