Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Thursday, 09 February 2012

Venue: Room 30, Parliament Buildings

The meeting began in closed session at 10:08am.

1.       Ministerial briefing on Strangford Lough

The Minister briefed the Committee on Strangford Lough.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department seeking further information about Modiolus beds in Welsh waters.

Ms Bradley left the meeting at 11:10am.

The Chairperson declared the meeting open to the public at 11:15am.

2.       Ulster Wildlife Trust briefing on Strangford Lough

Representatives from the Ulster Wildlife Trust briefed the Committee and answered members’ questions on Strangford Lough.

The main area of discussion was the decline of the Modiolus reefs within Strangford Lough.

Ms Bradley re-joined the meeting at 11:24am.

3.      Northern Ireland Fish Producers Organisation briefing on Strangford Lough

Representatives from the Northern Ireland Fish Producers Organisation briefed the Committee and answered members’ questions on Strangford Lough.

The main area of discussion was the decline of the Modiolus reefs within Strangford Lough.

Mr Weir left the meeting at 12:55pm.

The Chairperson declared the meeting closed to the public at 12:59pm

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department requesting confirmation that the voluntary Code of Practice, implemented by Strangford fishermen, has been taken into consideration when proposing action plans for the Lough.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department stating that members stressed the importance of both DOE & DARD working closely with all Strangford Lough stakeholders.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department stating that members highlighted the need for further research and data to inform future action.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development asking if it intends to take any action in relation to Strangford Lough and asking for its support in requesting DARD officials brief the Environment Committee.

The Chairperson declared the meeting open to the public at 1:10pm

Mr Kinahan left the meeting at 1:10pm.

4.      Apologies

  Apologies are listed above.

5.      Minutes

The minutes of the meeting on 2 February 2012 were agreed.

6.       Chairperson’s business

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

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking when the Minister will be writing to the Voluntary Transition Committees to ask them to reconvene.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department stressing the importance of phasing in the proposed primary legislation rather than bringing it all forward at one time.

Agreed: That the Chairperson writes to the Minister expressing the Committee’s concern about the ongoing delays in taxi and bus operator licencing and asking when he will be making a decision on fees for taxi operator licenses and bringing forward bus operator licencing.

Mr Molloy left the meeting at 1:15pm.

7.       Matters Arising     

Members noted a DSD response to Committee queries regarding the Green New Deal. 

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a copy of the views of the Chief Executive of the Committee on Climate Change submitted to the Minister on the usefulness of climate change legislation.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department stating members’ belief that on the back of this correspondence the Minister should consider introducing a long term carbon emission reduction target for Northern Ireland such as 2050 in primary legislation. He should also consider supplementing this with shorter term interim targets in subordinate legislation.

Members welcomed a Departmental reply to Committee queries on the applicability of the improved procedures on noise and statutory nuisance for dealing with illegal race tracks.

Members noted a Departmental reply to Committee queries on ASSI designations.

Members noted a Departmental reply to Committee queries on the Barroso Taskforce policy officers.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with an Assembly Research paper on PPS 16.

Agreed: That a copy of the research paper is forwarded to the Department.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking how it has amended PPS16 to address rural needs, in particular those identified by Fermanagh District Council.

Members noted an agenda for the Climate Change in Northern Ireland Conference.

Members noted a DARD reply to Committee queries on septic tanks.

Members noted a DARD reply to Committee queries on a badger vaccine.

Members noted a Research paper on fracking.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a draft press release on the Committee’s response to the draft PFG.

Agreed: To release this press release on 22 February 2012.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a request from the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium to brief on the single use carrier bag levy.

Agreed: That an invitation is sent to the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium inviting them to attend a future meeting to brief on this issue along with the two other organisations, but advising them that at this stage the Committee will consider comments on the detail of the levy but not its introduction.

8.      Consultations

Synopsis of responses to the consultation on Nuisance Parking and Abandoned Vehicles.

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

Consultation on Planning and Demolition Control

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

Government response to consultation on Climate Change Arrangements Scheme and consultation on Climate Change Regulations, and the Scheme Administration Charges.

Agreed: That a copy of the synopsis of responses to the consultation on the Scheme Administration Charges is requested.

Synopsis of response to consultation on the draft Guidance on Councillors’ Allowances and Departmental response.

Lord Morrow declared an interest as a member of Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council.

Mr Clarke declared an interest as a member of Down District Council.

Ms Bradley declared an interest as a member of Newtownabbey Borough Council.

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

 9.     Statutory Rules

SR 2012/10 – The Local Government (Constituting Joint Committees as Bodies Corporate) Order (NI) 2012.

Lord Morrow declared an interest as a member of Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council.

Question put and agreed: That the Committee for the Environment has considered SR 2012/10 – The Local Government (Constituting Joint Committees as Bodies Corporate) Order (NI) 2012 and has no objection to these rules subject to the Examiner of Statutory Rules report.

Members noted SR 2012/16 – The Road Traffic (2007 Order) (Commencement No 9) Order 2012.

SR 2012/17 – The Road Traffic (Financial Penalty Deposit) Order (NI) 2012.

Question put and agreed: That the Committee for the Environment has considered SR 2012/17 and has no objection to these rules subject to the Examiner of Statutory Rules report.

SR 2012/18 – The Road Traffic (Financial Penalty Deposit) (Appropriate Amount) Order (NI) 2012.

Question put and agreed: That the Committee for the Environment has considered SR 2012/18 – The Road Traffic (Financial Penalty Deposit) (Appropriate Amount) Order (NI) 2012 and has no objection to these rules subject to the Examiner of Statutory Rules report.

SR 2012/19 – The Road Traffic (Immobilisation, Removal and Disposal of Vehicles) Regulations (NI) 2012.

Question put and agreed: That the Committee for the Environment has considered SR 2012/19 – The Road Traffic (Immobilisation, Removal and Disposal of Vehicles) Regulations (NI) 2012 and has no objection to these rules subject to the Examiner of Statutory Rules report.

10.    Correspondence

Copy of letter to the Minister of the Environment from the Freight Transport Association NI.

Agreed: That the Committee will request a copy of the Minister’s response.

Letter to the Department from the Education Committee seeking information in relation to school transport health and safety issues.

Agreed: That the letter is forwarded to the Department for comment.

Copy of draft OFMDFM European Priorities paper.

Agreed: That the paper is forwarded to the Department for comment on relevant issues.

Members noted the following correspondence:

Copy of Staff Commission Annual Report and Accounts 2010/2011.

Copy of New Solutions Journal – Impacts of Gas Drilling on Human Health and Animal Health.

Invitation to attend Ripple free fly-tying classes.

11.     Any other business          

Members were informed that Mr Michael Hamell (DG Environment in the      European Commission) will provide a briefing on the greening of the CAP on Tuesday 6 March at 2:15pm in the Senate Chamber.

Agreed: That the Committee is content with the proposed joint approach with the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development.

Agreed: That the Secretariat will draw up a list of the Committee’s key relevant stakeholders to be invited to this seminar and bring back to a future meeting for approval.

12.     Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting will be held on Thursday 16 February 2012 at 12.30pm. in the Malone Suite, Greenmount Campus, Antrim.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 1:30pm

Anna Lo MLA 
Chairperson, Committee for the Environment

16 February 2012

Find Your MLA

Locate your local MLA

Find MLA

News and Media Centre

Read press releases, watch live and archived video.

Find out more

Follow the Assembly

Keep up to date with what's happening at the Assembly.

Find out more

Subscribe

Enter your email address to keep up to date

Sign up