Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2012/2013

Date: Thursday, 31 January 2013

Venue: The Senate Chamber

The meeting began in public session at 10:06am.

1. Apologies

Apologies are listed above.

2. Departmental briefing on Vehicle Testing Strategic Review

Departmental Officials briefed the Committee and answered members’ questions on the Vehicle Testing Strategic Review.

The main areas of discussion were the challenges faced by the current vehicle testing system and the review of the future delivery of vehicle testing.

Mr Weir joined the meeting at 10:20am.

Mr Elliott joined the meeting at 10:31am.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking for an update on the progress in implementing the recommendations of the Public Accounts Committee report on the MOT PFI Contract.  Also request a copy of the Outline Business Case and ask that the Committee is kept updated on the progress of negotiations on the current contract.

3. Chairperson’s business 

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with information on environmental related events being held throughout the term of the Irish Presidency of the Council of the EU which runs from January to June 2013.

Agreed: That the Chairperson will represent the Committee at the RSA International Conference on Road Safety on 28 March 2013.

4. Minutes

The minutes of the meeting on 24 January 2013 were agreed.

5. Matters Arising 

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a copy of the Department’s Programme of Work for January to March 2013 and the Committee’s revised Forward Work Programme taking the Department’s programme into account.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department confirming a briefing on Local Government Reform at the meeting on 14 March.  Also ask for a written response to the issues raised during the Local Government Reform debate on 28 January 2013.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking for an update on the progress of the items of business scheduled for January which have not yet arrived with the Committee.

Members noted a Departmental reply to Committee queries on the PEDU report into flooding.

Mr McElduff joined the meeting at 10:59am.

Mr Hamilton left the meeting at 11:07am.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply to Committee queries on the January Monitoring Round submission.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department requesting further clarification on the transfer of funds in relation to Drumclay Crannog and asking if this contravenes the principle that the developer pays and if there are any possible ramifications following this decision. Also ask for exact quantification of the amounts being sought for central government funding of Local Government Reform and ask for a full breakdown of monitoring round bids for Local Government Reform.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply to Committee queries on the Make IT Green project.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking what percentage of IT equipment is currently being recycled in accordance with the Waste Management Strategy.

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

Agreed: That a copy of the Departmental reply is forwarded to Quarry Products Association NI.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply to Committee queries on the Downpatrick Planning Office.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking what safeguards and protocols are in place in Planning Service to prevent and detect fraud.

6. Consultations

Consultation on draft Controlled Waste and Duty of Care Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2013.

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

Synopsis of Responses to the consultation on Noise Mapping and Action Planning Technical Guidance.

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

7. Statutory Rules

Members noted SR 2013/4 – The Single Use Carrier Bags Charge Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2013.

SR 2013/5 – The Road Traffic (Fixed Penalty) (Offences) (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2013

Question put and agreed: That the Committee for the Environment has considered Statutory Rule 2013/5 – The Road Traffic (Fixed Penalty) (Offences) (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2013 and has no objection to the rule.

Mr Weir left the meeting at 11:17am.

SR 2013/6 – The Road Traffic (Fixed Penalty) (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2013

Question put and agreed: That the Committee for the Environment has considered Statutory Rule 2013/6 – The Road Traffic (Fixed Penalty) (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2013 and has no objection to the rule.

Members noted a Departmental reply to Committee queries on Statutory Rule 2012/453 – Pollution Prevention and Control (Industrial Emissions) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012.

Mr Weir re-joined the meeting at 11:19am.

8. Planning Bill

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with the Delegated Powers Memorandum from the Department.

Agreed: That the Delegated Powers Memorandum is forwarded to the Examiner of Statutory Rules for comment.

Members noted the revised Committee Stage timetable.

Mr Elliott left the meeting at 11:21am.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a request from Northern Ireland Environment Link to brief the Committee.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to Northern Ireland Environment Link advising them that they will be invited to attend the Stakeholder Event.

9. Correspondence

Departmental reply to queries forwarded by the Committee on behalf of the National Beef Association regarding the procurement process undertaken by the DOE when leasing land.

Agreed: That a copy of the reply is forwarded to the National Beef Association and the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development for information.

Departmental reply to the Committee for Regional Development’s request for an oral briefing from Officials on the on-going review of bus operator licensing.

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

Departmental reply to queries forwarded by the Committee on behalf of the Education Committee regarding the Road Safety Council and Road Safety Committees.

Agreed: That a copy of the reply is forwarded to the Committee for Education.

Correspondence regarding EU infringements in relation to the UK and the introduction of measures set out in the Directive on periodic roadworthiness tests for motor vehicles and their trailers

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking for comment on the second infringement case, identifying any implications for the Department and road safety in Northern Ireland.

Letter from the Committee for Employment and Learning requesting that the attached correspondence regarding ‘Employability Programmes’ is forwarded to the Department for comment.

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

Members noted the following correspondence:

Copy of DFP and SEUPB briefing papers on the Strategic Direction of future EU Funding.

Copy of Resource Expenditure tables for 2012/2013.

Departmental reply to Committee queries regarding the Department’s input to DEFRA in relation to Explanatory Memorandum – COM 16498/12 (ADD1-11).

Reply from Diane Dodds MEP in relation to the European Commission’s proposals to amend the existing EU legislation on roadworthiness tests for motor vehicles & trailers.

Copy of the annual Noise Statistics Report for Northern Ireland.

Mr Hamilton re-joined the meeting at 11:23am.

10. Departmental briefing on Derry City Walls

Departmental officials briefed the Committee and answered members’ questions on Derry City Walls.

The main areas of discussion were the Walls Conservation Plan and the events taking place in relation to the UK City of Culture.

Mr Elliott re-joined the meeting at 11:32am.

Mrs Kelly left the meeting at 12:05pm.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking for a written response in relation to the cleaning of graffiti on the Walls.

11. Assembly Research briefing on Access and Liability

An Assembly Research Official briefed the Committee and answered members’ questions on Access and Liability.

The main areas of discussion were the legislation governing Access and Liability and examples of Liability claims.

Mr Elliott declared an interest as a landowner.

Lord Morrow left the meeting at 12:37pm.

Agreed: That a copy of the Research papers is forwarded to the Ulster Federation of Rambling Clubs for information.

Agreed: That a copy of the Research papers is forwarded to the Ulster Farmers Union and the Northern Ireland Agricultural Producers Association asking if there are any circumstances under which they think farmers and landowners might consider increased access to land as acceptable.

12. Any other business

13. Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting will be held on Thursday 14 February 2013 at 10:00am in the Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12:57pm.

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

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