Minutes of Proceedings
Date: 07 May 2008
COMMITTEE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS
THURSDAY 8 MAY 2008,
ROOM 135, PARLIAMENT BUILDINGS
Mr Patsy McGlone (Chairperson)
Mr Billy Armstrong
Mr Cathal Boylan
Mr Trevor Clarke
Mr David Ford
Mr Tommy Gallagher
Mr Ian McCrea
Mr Alastair Ross
Mr Peter Weir
Ms Patricia Casey (Assembly Clerk)
Mr William Long (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Mr Sean McCann (Clerical Supervisor)
Mr Collan Cree (Clerical Supervisor)
Mr Iain Elliott (Clerical Officer)
Apologies: Mr Samuel Gardiner
The meeting commenced in public session at 10.35 a.m.
Apologies are detailed above
Agreed – the draft minutes of the meeting on 24 April were agreed.
The Chairperson updated members on a meeting he held with Jimmy Spratt, Chairperson of Assembly and Executive Review Committee, to initiate a discussion on the overlap of Committee business on the issue of multiple mandates.
Agreed: That the Executive Review Committee consider and examine this issue and seek the views of the Environment Committee and keep them advised of any key developments.
Historic Buildings Grants Scheme:
The Chairperson informed members that a copy of the scheme had been e-mailed to members for comment. No comments had been received by the Committee office and Committee Staff would inform the Department of this.
Cancellation of Briefing Sessions:
The Chairperson informed members that the Programme Delivery Support Unit and Mr Mike Turner had contacted the Committee Office to cancel their proposed briefings at future meetings.
Mr Ross joined the meeting at 10.39a.m.
Good Vehicles (Licensing of Operators) Bill:
The Chairperson informed members that the Bill is scheduled for introduction on 12 May.
Mr Gallagher joined the meeting at 10.40a.m.
Briefing by Participation Network NI
Representatives from the Participation Network NI briefed the Committee and answered members’ questions on how could they could help enhance the Committee’s role in advising the Department to consider the views of children and young people in the decision making process.
The main areas of discussion were: the ability to ensure that a representative voice is heard rather than a selective voice, the role and remit of the Participation Network and the willingness of children and young people to get involved in the decision making process.
Agreed: That the Participation Network NI forward a list of its members to the Committee.
Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department to ask on its level of engagement with the Participation Network NI.
Briefing by Communities Against Lough Neagh Incinerator
Representatives from Communities Against Lough Neagh Incinerator briefed the Committee and answered members’ questions on a proposal to construct an incinerator plant on the banks of Lough Neagh.
The main areas of discussion were: DARD’s view of the proposed incinerator, the Communities Against Lough Neagh’s engagement with other statutory committees and departments, the position of waste groups on this proposal and the engagement process with Rose Energy.
Briefing by League Against Cruel Sports
Representatives from the League Against Cruel Sports briefed the Committee and answered members’ questions on possible permanent protection for the Irish Hare.
Mr Armstrong left the meeting at 11.52a.m.
Mr Weir left the meeting at 11.55a.m.
The main areas of discussion were: the League’s exact position on the legality of hare coursing, the length of time hares are kept in captivity, the destruction of habitat and its effect on the hare and the need for a bill to ban hare coursing.
Mr Gallagher left the meeting at 11.58a.m.
Committee’s initial consideration of responses to Road Safety consultation
The Committee considered the table of responses to its questionnaire on the Minister’s Road Safety proposals.
Agreed: That more detailed consideration of the responses is deferred to a future meeting.
SR 2008/160 – The Waste Management Licences (Consultation and Compensation) Regulations ( Northern Ireland)
Question put and agreed:
That the Committee for the Environment has considered The Waste Management Licences (Consultation and Compensation) Regulations ( Northern Ireland) and has no objection to the rule.
SR 2008/138 – The Waste and Contaminated Land (1997 Order) (Commencement No. 8) Order ( Northern Ireland) 2008
Question put and agreed:
That the Committee for the Environment has considered The Waste and Contaminated Land (1997 Order) (Commencement No. 8) Order ( Northern Ireland) 2008and has no objection to the rule.
Members noted the Examiner of Statutory Rules Fourteenth Report.
Proposals for Secondary Legislation - SL1s
Mr Weir rejoined the meeting at 12.05p.m.
Mr Armstrong rejoined the meeting at 12.06p.m.
SL1 – The introduction of amending legislation to change the fare structure and to increase the tariffs that can be charged by licensed taxi drivers whose vehicles operate under Belfast Public Hire Taxi Licences.
Agreed: That the Committee considered The introduction of amending legislation to change the fare structure and to increase the tariffs that can be charged by licensed taxi drivers whose vehicles operate under Belfast Public Hire Taxi Licences and had no objections to the proposal.
SL1 – The introduction of amending legislation to increase the current fees chargeable by the Department for taxi driver licences.
Agreed: That Departmental officials are invited to brief the Committee on this proposal at a future meeting.
1. Letter from the Utility Regulator notifying Committee of publication of NIAUR Sustainability Consultation Document.
Agreed: That a Research paper is requested on this issue.
2. Letter from NIIRTA thanking Members for agreeing to be the principal sponsor of ‘Nightmare on every street’.
Agreed: That NIIRTA are invited to a future Committee meeting and that a letter is sent to the Department to ascertain the number of people working on the planning policy statements.
3. Letter from KCDA raising concerns with the Planning service over its willingness to grant planning permission for the development ‘Planning Application K/2007/0052/F (Omagh Area)’.
Agreed: That a copy of this letter is sent to the Department for comment.
4. Members noted a letter from the Clerk for the Assembly and Executive Review Committee requesting a meeting with Committee Chairperson regarding overlap of Committee Business.
5. Members noted a letter from the Chairperson of the Assembly and Executive Review Committee on the subject of multiple mandates.
6. Members noted a letter from Action Renewables requesting that the Committee urge the Assembly to commit Northern Ireland to its fair share of green house gas emissions reductions.
7. Letter from McAnulty’s ‘Yellow Line Coach Hire’ expressing dissatisfaction with DVA response to the issue of Rooney’s Coach Firm allegedly operating without licence on specified route.
Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking for an update as to how this complaint was dealt with.
8. Members noted a letter from NIIRTA notifying Committee of the publication of ‘Nightmare on every street’.
9. Members noted an e-mail from Mike Turner informing the Committee that he will not be attending the Committee meeting as originally planned.
10. Members noted an e-mail from the Department regarding ‘EHS consultation Historic Buildings Grant-aid Scheme’.
11. Letter from the Freight Transport Association thanking Members for the opportunity to brief Members on April 3 rd and requesting that a working lunch be held immediately before the primary legislation procedure commences.
Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Freight Transport Association advising that, due to the Committee workload, a working lunch is not possible at this time.
12. Departmental response to letter from Ms. Fiona McKinley of the Park Road & District Residents Association regarding development at George Best Belfast City Airport.
Agreed: That a copy of the response is sent to Ms McKinley.
13. Members noted an e-mail from Ms. Catherine McRory of Equality 2000 Ltd inviting Members to the launch of ‘A Bill of Rights for NI: The Rights and Wrongs’, to be held in Dungannon on Friday May 09.
14. Departmental response to letter from Mr. McCarthy regarding problems faced when registering vehicles in Northern Ireland.
Agreed: That a copy of the response is forwarded to Mr McCarthy and that a letter is sent to the Department to enquire about the display of MOT discs if a vehicle is bought or MOT’d in England where discs are not issued.
15. Departmental response to e-mail from Mr. A J Cooke regarding proposed new council structures.
Agreed: That a copy of the response is forwarded to Mr Cooke.
16. Members noted a response from the Minister for Committee request for clarification on reasons for seeking accelerated passage for Local Government (Contracts) Bill.
17. Members noted a Departmental response to Committee request for further information on PPPS 20 and other PPSs which have transferred from DRD to DOE.
18. Members noted a letter from the Killinchy Rural Preservation Group regarding planning application X/2007/0964/F, located at 50 A Whiterock Road, Killinchy.
19. Members noted a letter from the Minister indicating decision on planning application Y/2000/0704/F.
20. Members noted a letter from the Minister indicating decision on planning application N/1998/0458/O.
21. Members noted a letter from the Minister indicating decision on planning application N/2004/1170/O.
22. Members noted a copy of a letter forwarded to the Department of Regional Development DALO regarding the Home School Bus Project.
23. Members noted a letter and monthly briefing from Environmental protection UK.
24. Members noted a letter from the Minister indicating decision on planning application N/2004/1170/O.
25. Response from the Committee for Regional Development to concerns raised by Mr. Robert McAllister regarding road signage on the A4.
Agreed: That a copy of the response is forwarded to Mr McAllister.
26. Letter from the Department outlining a revised draft Highway Code for Northern Ireland, to be launched by the end of May 2008.
Agreed: That if a member has any comments they are passed directly to the Department.
27. Members noted a Departmental response to Committee request for pass/fail rates for re-tests and six-monthly statistics on pass/fail rates at test centres.
28. Departmental response to Committee request for a copy of DVA 90-day action plan for dealing with bulk data losses. Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking for a timeframe and update on the completion of this work.
29. Letter from the Department asking for the Chairperson to agree to a short interview with the Belfast Telegraph to outline the role of the Environment Committee. The article will focus on the joint roles of Environmental Policy Group and EHS. Agreed: That the Chairperson carries out this interview on behalf of the Committee.
30.Members noted and had no comments to make on “Transposition of Council Directive 2006/117/Euratom on the Supervision and Control of Shipments of Radioactive Waste and Spent Fuel” consultation package.
DOE News releases –
“Executive Supports Proposal for Rural White Paper”
“Foster Launches Drive to Save Lives with Graduated Driver Licensing”
“ Foster Praises Lurgan School’s Anti-Litter Project”
“Lisburn Farmer Fined £300 for Polluting Discharge”
“Executive Supports Proposal for Rural White Paper”
“Planning Stats Press Release”
“Illegal Driving Instructors”
“Local Government Elections to be Aligned with Review of Public Administration”
“Displaying MOT Discs Becomes Legal Requirement”
“Foster unveils expansion to Banbridge recycling centre”
Shooting and Conservation magazine – May / June 2008
Any Other Business
The Committee deliberated on the need for bottled water at future meetings.
Agreed: That tap water and a reduced amount of bottled water are provided at future Committee meetings.
Date, time and place of next meeting
The next meeting will be held on Thursday, 15 May 2008 at 10.30am in Room 144, Parliament Buildings.
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.28p.m.