Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Thursday, 29 March 2012

Venue: Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings

The meeting began in public session at 9:24a.m.

1.       Apologies

   Apologies are listed above.

2.       Minutes

The minutes of the meeting on 22 March 2012 were agreed.

3.      Matters Arising

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a draft Committee forward work programme.

Agreed: That a copy of the daft Committee forward work programme is published on the Committee website.

The Chairperson reminded members that they had provisionally agreed to a Committee visit to Scotland in relation to the Marine Bill on 25 and 26 of April 2012.

Agreed: That the Committee Secretariat will provide a draft programme at the meeting on 17 April 2012.

Mr. Boylan joined the meeting at 9.27am.

Members noted a Departmental reply to Committee queries on the National Ecosystem Assessment. 

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

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department informing them that the Committee believes that Planning should have more responsibility on the issue of unfinished roads by insuring that a link is created between a planning application and the completion of a development.

Members also agreed to ask the Department to what extent a phased approach to development could be incorporated into planning conditions whereby subsequent phases of a development could not commence until the previous phase was finished.

Members also agreed that this should include the completion and adoption of roads for houses in that phase, sewerage infrastructure provided outside properties as well as within and street lighting installed.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a tabled Research and Information Service paper commissioned by the Regional Development Committee on unadopted roads in private developments.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Regional Development Committee asking that the Environment Committee is kept informed of the progress of their Inquiry into Unfinished Roads.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply to Committee queries on enabling legislation for National Parks.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department expressing the Committee’s desire to see the stakeholder engagement process speeded up. Members also agreed to ask if the Department had considered the idea of holding one stakeholder meeting rather than a series of meetings with individual stakeholders.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply to Committee queries on the deadline for responses to the consultation on the draft Marine Position Paper consultation.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department stating that the Committee has noted the two week extension, and to request that the Department takes into account holiday periods when issuing future consultations.

Mr. Kinahan joined the meeting at 9.36am.

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

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department expressing the Committee’s disappointment with the reply. Members would like to see the Department being much more proactive in encouraging and enabling producers to meet the new targets rather than leaving it to market forces. Members also agreed that they would like to see the Department produce a definitive action plan to achieve this.

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

Mr. McGlone joined the meeting at 9.41am.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department requesting a copy of the procedures for a PSV check and to ask how robust the system is. Members also agreed to ask that the Department provides quarterly updates on spot checks on school buses.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply to Committee queries on the waste management procurement process.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking to provide the Committee with quarterly progress reports on the Department’s Action Plan for implementing the recommendations of the Gateway Review.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a letter from the Northern Ireland Association of Independent Recyclers (NIAIR) reiterating their call for a review of the existing waste management, recycling and recovery infrastructure.

Agreed: That a copy of NIAIR’s letter is forwarded to the Department for comment.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to Greenline Energy asking that they provide the Committee with a written submission regarding their concerns in relation to the existing waste management, recycling and recovery infrastructure.

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

Members noted an Assembly Research and Information note of the NI Marine Taskforce event on the Marine Bill. 

4.      Consultations

Synopsis of responses to consultation on the draft Local Government Pension Scheme (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012.

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

Proposals for a Charge on Single Use Carrier Bags – consultation on draft Regulations.

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

Agreed: That the Committee Clerk will draft a Committee motion on this issue for agreement at the meeting on 17 April 2012.

Synopsis of responses to consultation on gating orders guidance.

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

Consultation on the Pollution Prevention and Control Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012.

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

5.      Proposals for Secondary Legislation

SL1 – Proposed changes to Operator Licensing – Goods Vehicle (Licensing of Operators) Act (NI) 2010.

Agreed: That a decision is deferred on the 7 statutory rules until the Committee has sought the views of key stakeholders on the proposed exemptions.

Members also agreed to write to the Department seeking clarity on how it will ensure accuracy and consistency in the interpretation of exemptions, and to confirm that there can be no misinterpretation at road shows about the draft nature of the exemption regulations until they have been affirmed by the Assembly.

SL1 – Taxi Operator Licensing Regulations

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department welcoming the introduction of the legislation and the incentive of a reduction in the fee.

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

6.       Statutory Rules

Draft SR – Local Government Best Value (Exclusion of Non-commercial Considerations) Order NI.

Agreed: That a decision is deferred on this Order until it has been provided with more information from the Department on how it will ensure social clauses are delivered.

SR 2012/112 – The Waste (Fees and Charges) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012.

Question put and agreed: That the Committee for the Environment has considered SR 2012/112 – The Waste (Fees and Charges) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 and has no objection to the rule.

7.       Inquiry into Used Tyre Disposal

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with 6 Assembly Research papers in answer to members’ queries following the last discussion on the draft inquiry report.

Agreed: That a copy of the Research papers is included in the Committee’s Inquiry report. 

 8.     Correspondence

Invitation from Ballymena Borough Council to visit the ECOS Millennium Environmental Centre and Park in Ballymena.

Agreed: That a letter of acceptance is sent to Ballymena Borough Council stating that due to the Committee’s forward work programme they are unable to provide a date at present, however, a visit would be factored into the Committee’s programme later in the year.

Invitation from NIEA to attend – Building New Opportunities Conference.

Agreed: To request that a member of Assembly Research and Information Service attend and report back to the Committee.

Tabled correspondence from the Committee for Justice in relation to the draft Community Safety Strategy.

Agreed: That a copy of the memo from the Committee for Justice is forwarded to the Department for comment on Building Safer Communities (Section 5) and Building Shared Communities (Section 6).

Members noted the following correspondence:

Article 31 – A/2007/0145/F

Article 31 – Z/2010/0213/F

Copy of March DOE Investment Strategy for Northern Ireland Investing Activity Report.

List of stakeholders consulted by the Department of Employment and Learning (DEL) regarding the Abolition of DEL and transfer of functions.

Copy of February 2012 Meta Morphosis Newsletter.

9.      Any other business

A Member raised the issue of delays in wind turbine/farm applications due to consideration of radio corridors.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking if there are any delays in wind turbine/farm applications due to consideration of radio corridors belonging to NI Water, or any other organisation. 

10.     Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting will be held on Tuesday 17 April 2012 at 12.30pm in the Room 144, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 10.08a.m.

Anna Lo, MLA
Chairperson, Committee for the Environment
17 April 2012

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