Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Thursday, 07 June 2012

Venue: The Meeting Room, ECOS Centre, Ballymena

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

1. Apologies

Apologies are listed above.

2. Minutes

The minutes of the meetings on 29 and 31 May 2012 were agreed.

Lord Morrow joined the meeting at 10:10am.

Mr Campbell joined the meeting at 10:10am.

3. Matters arising 

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply to Committee queries on NI Water and wind turbine applications.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department informing them the Committee feels it needs to review its approach to achieving a balance between the desire for renewable energy and the objections of local residents.  Also ask if there is a ‘saturation point’ for areas with a large number of wind turbines.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply to Committee queries on the Local Government (Boundaries) Order NI 2012. 

Agreed: That the issue of Local Government Boundaries is added to the agenda for the Minister’s briefing at the meeting on 28 June 2012.

Agreed: That the Annex to the Departmental reply is forwarded to Fermanagh District Council.

Agreed: That the previous papers on Local Government (Boundaries) Order are re-issued to members by email.

Mr Hamilton joined the meeting at 10:21am.

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

Agreed: That the Departmental reply is forwarded to the Committee for Regional Development requesting that they take it into consideration during their inquiry into unfinished roads.

4. Consultation

Synopsis of responses to L and R Driver Scheme Graduated Driving Licence consultation and policy proposals in relation to the GDL elements of the Road Traffic Amendment Bill.

Agreed: That the issue of L and R Driver Scheme Graduated Driving Licence is added to the agenda for the Minister’s briefing at the meeting on 28 June 2012.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department expressing the Committee’s disappointment with the proposed way forward and informing them that the Committee is not content for the Department to proceed with the policy at this stage. Also express the Committee’s disappointment that the press release was sent at such short notice, which didn’t allow members time to discuss the issue prior to it becoming public knowledge.  Also inform the Department the Committee is concerned that decisions in relation to Measure 9 go against responses to the consultation, may have an adverse impact on those living in rural areas and is counter intuitive to car sharing initiatives.

Mr Hamilton left the meeting at 10:37am.

Synopsis of responses to Taxifare and Taximeter Consultation.

Agreed: That the issue of Taxifare and Taximeter Consultation is added to the agenda for the Minister’s briefing at the meeting on 28 June 2012.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department informing them that the Committee is not content for the Department to proceed with the policy at this stage.  Also ask who will carry out the additional research and what is the cost of implementation of the Taxis Act to date.

5. Statutory Rules

Members noted a Statutory Instrument on the Capacity Labelling of Batteries.

The Draft Local Government Best Value (Exclusion of Non-Commercial Considerations) Order (Northern Ireland) 2012

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

Mr Hamilton re-joined the meeting at 10:41am.

Statutory Rule 2012/218 – The Quality of Bathing Water (Amendment) Regulations (NI) 2012

Question put and agreed: That the Committee for the Environment has considered SR 2012/218 – The Quality of Bathing Water (Amendment) Regulations (NI) 2012 and has no objection to the rule subject to the Examiner of Statutory Rules report.

6. Marine Bill

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply to a Council for Nature Conservation and the Countryside (CNCC) letter on shoreline management plans.

Agreed: That the Departmental reply is included in the final Committee report.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided a copy of the Examiner of Statutory Rules paper on delegated powers.

Agreed: That the paper is included in the final Committee report.

Members noted a reply from the Countryside Alliance Ireland to the Departmental response on Marine Conservation Zones.

7. Marine Bill – informal clause by clause consideration

The Committee continued the informal clause by clause consideration of the Marine Bill with discussion on issues raised by stakeholders in relation to Clauses 13 – 35.

The main areas of discussion were Marine Conservation Zones, the duties of public authorities and the byelaws for the protection of Marine Conservation Zones.

Agreed: In relation to Clause 17, that the Department considers an amendment to enable the Department to amend or revoke an order.

Agreed: In relation to Clause 19, that the Department considers an amendment to change ‘restricted’ to ‘affected’ in sub-section 2(c).

Agreed: In relation to Clause 23, that the Department considers an amendment to require an explanation for failure to comply by changing ‘may’ to ‘must’ or ‘shall’ in sub-section 2(a).

Mrs Kelly left the meeting at 12:09pm.

Agreed: In relation to Clause 24, that the Department considers including in this clause an interpretation of ‘any other part of Northern Ireland’ in sub-section 2.

Mr Campbell left the meeting at 12:16pm.

Agreed: In relation to Clause 26, that the Department provides clarity on what constitutes an emergency.

Mr Molloy joined the meeting at 12:22pm.

8. Briefing on the Rivers Trust

A representative from the Rivers Trust briefed the Committee and answered members’ questions on the work of the Rivers Trust.

The main areas of discussion were the role of the Rivers Trust, the presence of the Rivers Trust in Northern Ireland and the problems they face.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department for Regional Development asking for clarification on water pollution, in particular the fact that the level of fines often does not cover the cost of clearing up the incident.

 9. Correspondence

Email regarding the restoration of Annesley Gardens, Castlewellan Forest Park as a heritage garden.

Agreed: That the email is forwarded to the Department for comment on the feasibility of Annesley Gardens being designated as a garden of scientific interest.

Copy of questionnaire - Towards a 7th Environment Action Programme (EAP).

Agreed: That the Committee Clerk completes the questionnaire on behalf of the Committee.  Also, that the questionnaire is forwarded to all local councils.

Copy of letter from the NI Archaeological Forum previously considered by the Committee regarding the issues facing Northern Ireland’s unique archaeological heritage.

Agreed: That a copy of the letter is forwarded to the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure for information in advance of the joint motion.

Members noted the following correspondence:

Copy of Department of Finance and Personnel paper detailing the monitoring of Post Project Evaluations.

Email from the National Association of Councillors NI in relation to their previous queries regarding severance payments for Councillors displaced by the proposed local government reorganisation.

Memo from the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development requesting that they are kept appraised of any future developments concerning Rose Energy.

Invitation to attend the presentation of the Northern Ireland Motorcycle Fatality Report 2012.

10. Any other business

11. Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting will be held on Tuesday 12 June 2012 at 12:30pm in Room 29, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 1:09pm.

Anna Lo, MLA
Chairperson, Committee for the Environment
14 June 2012

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