Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Wednesday, 05 October 2011

Venue: Room 21, Parliament Buildings

10.29am The meeting commenced in closed session.

1. Departmental briefing: Public consultation on Belfast Rapid Transit proposals

The following officials from the Department for Regional Development joined the meeting:

Ciarán de Búrca - Director, Rapid Transit Division 
Lindsay Rainey - Rapid Transit Division 
Robin Totten - Rapid Transit Division.

The officials briefed the Committee on the Belfast Rapid Transit proposals and the public consultation on route options due to commence on 12 October 2011. This was followed by a question and answer session.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that further information should be sought on the PSNI related matter that ruled out the Comber Greenway as a route option.

The Chairperson thanked the officials for the briefing.

11.09am The officials left the meeting.

11.10am The meeting continued in public session.

2. Apologies

Apologies are detailed above.

3. Chairperson’s Business

  1. The Chairperson apprised members of his recent meeting with representatives of Northern Ireland Water regarding its Annual Report. Members noted that representatives of Northern Ireland Water would attend next week’s Committee meeting to brief the Committee on its Report.
  2. The Chairperson informed members that he had met with representatives of Sustrans and that briefing papers on relevant issues were available from the Committee Office. Members noted that Sustrans would be invited to give evidence to the Committee at a later date.
  3. Members noted a copy of the Northern Ireland Assembly and Business Trust’s European Programme 2011 and that a number of places were still available on the Programme. Members were asked to contact the Committee Office if they wished to register an interest in attending.

4. Draft minutes of the meeting held on 28 September 2011

Agreed: The draft minutes were agreed.

5. Correspondence

The Committee noted the following correspondence:

  1. A memo from the Clerk of the Committee for Finance and Personnel regarding an event on the public expenditure system. It is intended that the event will assist Members and Committees in their budget and financial scrutiny. The event, which will be hosted by the Committee for Finance and Personnel, will take place in the Long Gallery on Tuesday 18 October 2011 at 12.45 pm.
  2. A letter from the Department for Regional Development confirming that a detailed analysis of the consultation responses to its Active Travel Strategy would be provided to the Committee.
  3. A letter and draft press release from the Department for Regional Development regarding the appointment of four new Non-Executive Directors to the Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company Board.
  4. A letter from Belfast City Airport Watch (BCAW) including a copy of its response to ‘Developing a sustainable framework for UK aviation: Scoping document.’ Members also noted that the Chairperson would meet with representatives of BCAW on 11 October 2011 and would highlight that noise issues fall within the remit of the Department of the Environment.
  5. Position papers from Imtac on (a) the current content of the NI Direct website relating to transport and older people and disabled people; and (b) improving the provision and accessibility of taxi ranks in Northern Ireland.
  6. Correspondence from the Met Office outlining the winter services that it provides.
  7. A note of the Utility Regulator’s recent stakeholder workshop on the consumer protection aspects of the latest European Energy Package.
  8. Sustrans’ September 2011 newsletter.

The Committee considered correspondence from Peter Fitzpatrick Ltd on his company’s failure to pre-qualify for inclusion on the tender list for specific contracts.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward a copy of the correspondence to the Department for Regional Development for response and to request a copy of the response.

6. Non-departmental briefing: Confederation of British Industry

11.16am The following representatives of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) joined the meeting:

Nigel Smyth – Regional Director 
Aoife Clarke – Senior Policy Advisor.

The representatives briefed members on CBI’s key policy priorities and other related issues. This was followed by a question and answer session.

11.23 Mr Moutray left the meeting.

The Chairperson thanked the representatives for the briefing.

11.42 The representatives left the meeting.

7. Non-departmental briefing: Northern Ireland Local Government Association

Mr Jimmy Spratt MLA declared an interest as a member of Castlereagh Borough Council and as a member of Northern Ireland Joint Council

Mr Michael Copeland MLA declared an interest as a member of Castlereagh Borough Council

Mr Stewart Dickson MLA declared an interest as a member of Carrickfergus Borough Council

11.43am The following representatives of the Northern Ireland Local Government Association joined the meeting:

Evelyne Robinson - Chief Executive, NILGA 
Derek McCallan - Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (SOLACE) 
John Dempsey - Chief Executive Ballymoney Borough Council 
Alderman Arnold Hatch – Craigavon Borough Council.

The representatives briefed the Committee on how it was supporting a long-term solution to the winter maintenance of footpaths and other related matters. This was followed by a question and answer session.

The Chairperson thanked the representatives for the briefing.

12.14pm The representatives left the meeting.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department for Regional Development to seek clarification and details of existing guidelines on the salting of footpaths and associated responsibilities.

8. Departmental Briefing: Roads Service - Winter Service 2011/12

12.15pm The following Roads Service officials joined the meeting:

Dr Andrew Murray - Director of Network Services

Aloysius Loughran – Roads Service.

The officials briefed the Committee on the Winter Service for 2011/12. This was followed by a question and answer session.

The Chairperson thanked the officials for the briefing.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that the Clerk should explore the ways in which legislation could be introduced to place a duty on a particular authority to salt roads and footways.

12.48pm Mr Ó hOisín left the meeting.

12.50pm The officials left the meeting.

12.50pm Mr Copeland left the meeting.

Mr Byrne MLA expressed his concern in relation to the number of briefings scheduled for each Committee meeting.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to keep this matter in mind when considering future forward work programmes.

9. Statutory Rules

SR 2011/314 The Donaghadee Road, Groomsport (Abandonment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2011.

Question put and agreed:

“That the Committee for Regional Development has considered Statutory Rule 2011/314 The Donaghadee Road, Groomsport (Abandonment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2011 and has no objection to the rule.”

10. Forward work Programme

The Committee considered the draft forward work programme for the period October 2011 to December 2011.

Agreed: The Committee would advise the clerk of any other items for inclusion in the work programme or any comments on the items scheduled.

11. Any Other Business

Mr Dickson offered apologies for the Committee meeting to be held on 26 October 2011.

12. Date of the next meeting

The next meeting of the Committee will be Wednesday 12 October 2011 at 10.30am in Room 21, Parliament Buildings.

12.53pm The meeting was adjourned.

Mr Jimmy Spratt MLA
Chairperson, Committee for Regional Development 
12 October 2011

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