Minutes of Proceedings
Date: 21 February 2008
COMMITTEE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
Minutes of Proceedings
THURSDAY 21 FEBRUARY 2008,
Room 144, PARLIAMENT BUILDINGS
Mr Patsy McGlone (Chairperson)
Mr Trevor Clarke
Mr Samuel Gardiner
Mr Ian McCrea
Mr Alastair Ross
Mr David Ford
Mr Peter Weir
Ms Patricia Casey (Assembly Clerk)
Mr William Long (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Mr Sean McCann (Clerical Supervisor)
Mr Philip Maguire (Clerical Officer)
Mr Billy Armstrong
Mr Cathal Boylan
Mr Tommy Gallagher
Mr Daithi McKay
The meeting opened at 10.37a.m. in public session.
Apologies are detailed above
Agreed – the draft minutes were agreed.
The Chairperson informed members that Kendrew Colhoun, Assembly Research and Library Services, was leaving the Assembly to take up another post. The Chairperson thanked Mr Colhoun for the work he had done on behalf of the Committee and wished him luck in his new post.
Giant’s Causeway papers – letter to Speaker:
The Chairperson informed members that, as agreed at the meeting on 31 January 2008, a letter was sent to the Speaker on 1 February 2008 advising him that the Committee does not wish him to give further consideration to the section 44 request at this time until the Committee has had an opportunity to examine the documents it has received from the Department.
Agreed: That the committee send a letter to speaker advising him that the Committee does not wish him to give further consideration to the section 44 request.
Mr Gardiner joined the meeting at 11.12am
The Committee Clerk briefed the Committee on the procedure for rescinding a previous Committee motion.
Mr Weir proposed the following motion:
That the Committee release all legal advice relating to the Committee’s use of Section 44 into the public domain.
The Committee divided: Ayes 5; 1 Noes
The motion was therefore passed.
Agreed: That the Committee issue a press release advising that all legal advice relating to Section 44 will soon be published on the Assembly website.
Meetings with interest groups:
Members were informed that the first two of the meetings arranged between members and interest groups/individuals had taken place. An update of these meetings will be provided at the next Committee meeting on 21 February.
Committee visit to Lough Fea/Teal Lough:
The Chairperson thanked members for their attendance at the visit to Lough Fea and Teal Lough on Thursday 14 February. He also informed members that they were provided with correspondence and a copy of a Teal Lough discussion paper highlighting issues around Teal Lough for their information.
Agreed: That letters of thanks are sent to all involved in the Lough Fea/Teal Lough visit.
Environmental Audit letter:
The Chairperson informed members that they considered a letter from the Clerk, Audit Committee at the meeting on 31 st January 2008 concerning the possibility of Northern Ireland Audit Office taking on a greater role in Environmental Audit and that members needed to decide how to respond.
Agreed: That the Committee consider this again when dealing with environmental governance at a future meeting and that a letter is sent to the Audit Committee Clerk advising of this.
NI Conservation Group:
The Chairperson informed members that the Committee had considered an e-mail from Neil Wallace at its meeting on 6 December 2007 relating to the need for a legal Conservation Group in Northern Ireland. Committee staff had attempted to identify this group with the help of the Assembly Library and Research Services but were unsuccessful.
Agreed : That the committee seek information from the Council for Nature Conservation and the Countryside to help identify this group.
Forward Work Programme:
Members were advised that a copy of the Committee’s Forward Work Programme was included in meeting papers for information.
Agreed: That members discuss the Forward Work Programme at the meeting on 28 February.
Consultation Paper on Draft Quality of Bathing Water (NI) Regulations 2008:
The Chairperson informed members that they needed to respond to this consultation document.
Agreed: That the committee request for a synopsis of responses from the Department before the committee responds.
Departmental briefing on Draft PPS 18 – Renewable Energy
Departmental officials briefed the Committee and answered members’ questions on draft PPS 18 – Renewable Energy.
Briefing by Coalition of Environmental Protection
Representatives from the Coalition of Environment Protection briefed the Committee and answered members’ questions on their proposal for the establishment of an independent Environmental Protection Agency.
Proposals for Secondary Legislation
SL1 – Commencement of Article 10 of the Waste (Amendment) ( Northern Ireland) Order 2007.
Agreed: That the Committee considered Commencement of Article 10 of the Waste (Amendment) ( Northern Ireland) Order 2007, and had no objections to the proposal.
Members noted the use of fixed penalties for waste receptacle offences: summary of consultation responses.
- Letter from Ulster Farmers Union requesting a meeting with the Committee in relation to sewage discharges from “Balinacorr Sewage Works”.
Agreed: That the committee forward this letter to the Department for Regional Development and the Environmental Hertiage Service for their views.
- Members noted an invitation to attend a presentation by Queen’s University on “Climate Change Voices from the Developing World” at Queen’s University Belfast.
- Departmental response in relation to query from Ms Yvonne Hamilton (Portstewart Vision) on the issue of Garden Grabbing.
Agreed: That the Committee forward the Departmental planning circular to Ms Hamilton.
- Letter and copy of draft policy from the Department in relation to the Historical Buildings grant-aid policy draft seeking Environment Committee’s endorsement of EHS proposals.
Agreed: That this letter is put on the agenda for the meeting on 28 February 2008.
- Response from the Clerk of the Committee for Trade and Investment in relation to any consultation from the Department of Environment on the Mourne National Country Park.
Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department stating that the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment should have been consulted on the tourism aspect of the proposed national park.
- Letter and article from Mr Ronnie Carser, Ulster Federation of Rambling Clubs regarding the issue of countryside access, for recreation, in Northern Ireland.
Agreed : That the committee write to Mr Carser to arrange a future meeting with a member of the committee.
- Letter and paper from Park Road and District Residents Association requesting to meet with the Committee in relation to the Minister’s decision on whether or not to alter the Planning Agreement which controls the activities of Belfast City Airport.
Agreed : That the committee request information from the Department in relation to the current status of the proposal.
- E-mails from Stephen McConnell on behalf of Communities Against Lough Neagh Incinerator requesting a meeting with the Committee in relation to proposals to build an incinerator at Ballyvannon Road Glenavy on the shores of Lough Neagh.
Agreed : That the committee write to Mr McConnell to arrange a future meeting with a member of the committee.
- Members noted invitations from Environmental Protection UK in relation to:
“Managing Noice” 18 th – 19 th March 2008 at Woodside, Kenilworth Warwickshire
“A Breath of Clean Air” 3 rd and 4 th April 2008 Highgate House, Northamptonshire
“Biomethane for Transport” An integrated environmental solution Monday 3 March 2008 Devonport House, Greenwich London
- Members noted the response from the Department regarding list of PPS14 Stakeholder Seminars as requested by the Committee on the 7 February 2008.
Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Committee voicing the Committee’s dissatisfaction as the times of the stakeholder events.
- Members noted a letter from the Department regarding the Minister’s Statement to the Assembly on the British-Irish Council meeting which was held on the 1 February 2008.
- Members noted an e-mail from the Department and BBC Press Release regarding the interruption of the Planning Service website.
- Members noted a letter from the Department and copy of “Home to School Travel Statistical Bulletin”.
- Members noted a letter from the Department regarding proposals for regulations requiring the display of Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) certificates.
- Members noted an e-mail from Pressureworks regarding the Climate Change Bill
- E-mail from Kieran Ruddy (Chairman Pomeroy Development Projects) seeking the support of the Committee in relation to the Proposed Industrial Units at Forestry Sites at Pomeroy.
Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking for an update as to the current status of this proposal.
- 17. Invitation to visit the site of Callagheen Wind Farm, to discuss objections to the planning permission for an extension to this site.
Agreed : That the committee forward this letter to the Department to action.
- Response from the Department regarding the committee’s request for further information in relation to Mr Robert McAllister email of 29 January 2008 (copy attached)
Agreed : That the committee forward the Departmental response to Mr McAllister
- Members noted a letter from the Minister advising the Environment Committee of some new developments in relation to the UK Marine Bill.
- Members noted the following DOE News releases –
“Arlene Foster in Discussions with Hilary Benn”.
“Central and Local Administrations must Cooperate”.
“Planners the Self Build Show”.
“Omagh Gravel Company Fined for Planning Breach”
“Minister Joins Children in the Magic of Trees”
“Man Fined for Planning Offence”
“Man Fined for Failing to Remove Scrapped Cars”
“Foster Outlines Emerging Findings on PPS14”
“New Planning Guidance for Wind Energy Development”
Any other business
Date, time and place of next meeting
The next meeting will be held on Thursday, 28 February 2008 at 10.30am in room 144 Parliament Buildings
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 1.16p.m.