Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2012/2013

Date: Thursday, 29 November 2012

Venue: Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings

The meeting began in public session at 10:07am.

1. Apologies

Apologies are listed above.

2. Minutes

The minutes of the meetings on 15 November 2012 and 22 November 2012 were agreed.

3. Chairperson’s business 

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a note of a recent meeting with CNCC.

Agreed: That a copy of the note of the meeting, including reference to the availability of EU Funding for Sustainable Development and Climate Change, is forwarded to the Department for comment on the action points. 

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department to arrange a meeting with the new Chief Executive of the Environment Agency.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a note of the recent meeting with the DOE Permanent Secretary and officials.

Agreed: That a copy of the note of the meeting is forwarded to the Department for action.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department inviting the Minister to brief the Committee at its meeting on 13 December 2012.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a note of the recent meeting with Cyclists of Critical Mass.

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

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department informing them that the Committee would be supportive of any campaign to promote cyclist safety, but that it should also include cyclists’ duty of care to pedestrians.

The Chairperson informed members that, as in previous years, it is intended that the Committee will use a Christmas e-card this year.

Agreed: That an e-card is sent to regular stakeholders and all organisations that have been in contact with the Committee this year.

The Chairperson informed members that she had met with a representative of the Community Transport Association on Wednesday 28 November 2012 and a note of the meeting will be included in the papers for the meeting on 6 December 2012. 

4. Matters arising 

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply to Committee queries on delays to the framework proposals to halt the loss of biodiversity.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking which Departments have not replied or have provided responses that fail to explain how their strategies link to halting the loss of biodiversity.

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

Members noted a Departmental reply to Committee queries on the Communication Strategy for Local Government Reform.

Mr Hamilton left the meeting at 10:25am.

Mr Elliott joined the meeting at 10:48am.

Members noted a reply from OFMdFM, a letter from Diane Dodds MEP, a Ministerial letter and a letter from the Department for Transport in relation to the EU Roadworthiness proposals.

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

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply to Committee queries on Gender Neutral Insurance Benefits and Premiums.  Members were also provided with a copy of the Consultation on limitation periods for compensation claims of cross-border road traffic accidents in the European Union.

Agreed: That a copy of the Department’s letter is forwarded to the Committee for the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister for information.

Agreed: That a copy of the original OFMdFM correspondence, the Department’s letter and a copy of the Consultation are forwarded to the new All Party Group on the cost of car insurance, when it has been established.

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 welcoming the format of this Article 31 update.  Also ask for an update on the planning application that has been outstanding since 1999 and ask if this application is still valid.

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

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a letter from the Minister on archaeological artefacts.

Agreed: That a copy of the letter from the Minister is forwarded to the Chairperson of the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure.

Members noted a Departmental reply to Committee queries on the Dunluce Castle Visitor Centre.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply to Committee queries on the public inquiry into the Proposed Modification of Planning Agreement between the Department and George Best Belfast City Airport.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department informing them that the Committee is keen to see quicker decisions made on this particular case and also on cases of a similar nature.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to Mr Brian Ambrose inviting him to brief the Committee at a future meeting.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental letter on the modernisation of the Road Safety Education Officer Service.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking how it will ensure that the teaching of road safety is not seen by schools as optional as the Committee believes education is a vital part of road safety.

5. Consultation

Synopsis of responses to consultation on Pollution Prevention and Control (Industrial Emissions – NIEA) Charging Scheme 2012.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department requesting a list of stakeholders they consulted on this issue. 

6. Departmental Update

Members noted an updated Departmental infraction schedule. 

7. Proposal for Secondary Legislation

SL1 – The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) (Amendment) Regulations (NI) 2012

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking why there has been such a delay in bringing forward these regulations, as the Committee considered the synopsis of responses to the consultation at its meeting on 1 March 2012.

8. Statutory Rules

SR 2012/399 – The Smoke Control Areas (Authorised Fuels) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012

Question put and agreed: That the Committee for the Environment has considered Statutory Rule 2012/399 – The Smoke Control Areas (Authorised Fuels) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 and has no objection to the rule.

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

Agreed: That the Committee is content to recommend that the Rule is approved by the Assembly.

9. Marine Bill

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a draft Committee amendment on displacement, a Departmental reply to Committee queries on displacement, emails from NI Marine Taskforce on possible Committee amendment, NI Marine Taskforce and ANIFPO replies on displacement and Hansard transcripts of the Marine Bill briefing on 8 and 15 November 2012. 

Members were also provided with a previous Departmental letter on sustainable development, a Departmental letter on sustainable development and draft Departmental amendment, an extract from the Committee report on sustainable development and an extract from Minutes of Evidence of discussion on sustainable development.

Agreed: That a Committee amendment, taking account of NI Marine Taskforce input, is tabled requiring the Department to take into consideration the impact on the wider marine environment of restricting or banning certain activities within a marine conservation zone.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to all MLAs informing them that the Committee will be tabling an amendment on displacement at Consideration Stage of the Bill.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking for further details on the Department’s decision making in relation to an amendment on Sustainable Development.

10. Correspondence

Departmental update on the position of planning application Z/2009/1607/F, and a copy of the original correspondence from concerned local residents.

Agreed: That a copy of the Departmental update is forwarded to the concerned local residents indicating that the Committee’s position is not to comment on or become involved in individual planning applications unless they demonstrate the need for overarching planning policy to be addressed.

Correspondence from the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment requesting that the Committee forwards their motion on the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) to the Minister of the Environment for comment on its potential in the Department of the Environment.

Agreed: That a copy of the correspondence is forwarded to the Minister for assessment of the potential of SBRI in the DOE.

Invitation from NIEA to visit the on-going archaeological excavations at Drumclay Crannog, Enniskillen.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking for further details on the costings for the archaeological excavations and who is responsible for paying the costs in relation to the delays of the road building project.  Also ask for further details on what has been found at the site.

Departmental reply to Committee queries on additional measures required next year to reduce breaches of the odour and aluminium standards reported in the Drinking Water Inspectorate’s 2011 Annual Report.

Agreed: That a copy of the Departmental reply is forwarded to the Committee for Regional Development for information.

Invitation from the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission for the Chairperson to attend a reception on the occasion of International Human Rights Day on 10 December 2012.

Agreed: That the Chairperson will attend the reception on behalf of the Committee.

Departmental reply to queries forwarded by the Committee on behalf of the Committee for Social Development on cross-departmental co-operation in relation to poverty and social deprivation.

Agreed: That a copy of the Departmental reply is forwarded to the Committee for Social Development.

Departmental reply to queries forwarded by the Committee in response to receipt of correspondence from a Mr Murray on planning issues.

Agreed: That a copy of the Departmental reply is forwarded to Mr Murray.

Letter of concern from The Ulster Society for the Protection of the Countryside regarding the disposal of waste tyres, particularly in relation to the dumping of tyres in the countryside.

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

Correspondence from National Beef Association regarding the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development NICMS approval scheme.

Agreed: That a copy of the correspondence is forwarded to NIEA for comment on the issues raised but not on the individual case.

Members noted the following correspondence:

Copy of NIEL News – November 2012.

Copy of Friends of the Earth Northern Ireland Newsletter – Autumn 2012.

Correspondence updating the Committee on the position of the Road Safety Council for NI and Road Safety Committees in Northern Ireland.

Copy of Strategic Investment Board Report on the Executive’s Investment Strategy.

Copy of Freshwater Taskforce Report – “From Source to Sea” – 10 steps to sustainable water use in Northern Ireland.

Copy of Investment Strategy for NI Investing Activity Report for the DOE – November 2012.

Article 31 – letter to advise the Minister’s intention to refuse planning permission Z/2009/1607/F – retail led, mixed use development, Shore Road, Belfast.

11. Departmental briefing on synopsis of responses to consultation on drink drive provisions – Road Traffic Amendment Bill

Departmental Officials briefed the Committee and answered members’ questions on the synopsis of responses to consultation on drink drive provisions – Road Traffic Amendment Bill.

The main areas of discussion were the new, lower drink drive limits, the new graduated penalty regime and concerns raised by stakeholders through the consultation process.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking for information on the number of successful prosecutions of people deemed unfit to drive and how many of these were found to be drug related.  Also ask for the number of repeat offenders prosecuted and the sentences handed down and request copies of the full consultation responses.

12. Historic Buildings Council/Departmental briefing on Safeguarding Northern Ireland’s Listed Buildings

Departmental Officials and representatives from the Historic Buildings Council briefed the Committee and answered members’ questions on Safeguarding Northern Ireland’s Listed Buildings.

The main areas of discussion were the background of the Historic Buildings Council and the process of listing and de-listing buildings.

Mr Hamilton rejoined the meeting at 12:27pm.

Mr Elliott left the meeting at 12:32pm.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking for a list of modern, 1970s onwards, listed buildings.  Also ask for the number of buildings listed and de-listed in the last 5 years.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department inviting the Department’s Monuments Manager and NIEA to brief the Committee on the Derry City Walls Heritage Project at a future meeting.  Also request copies of the minutes of the last 3 meetings of the Derry City Walls Management Committee.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to Holywell Trust asking for their model of good management for Derry City Walls.

13. Any other business

The Chairperson informed members that there is an opportunity for Committee members to participate in a programme looking at challenging and questioning techniques.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to Eva Grosman/Kevin Shiels inviting them to talk to the Committee about the programme at a future meeting. 

 14. Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting will be held on Thursday 6 December 2012 at 10:00am in the Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12:56pm.

Anna Lo, MLA
Chairperson, Committee for the Environment
6 December 2012

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