Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 03 July 2012

Venue: Room 30

Present:

Mr Paul Frew MLA (Chairperson)
Ms Michaela Boyle MLA
Mr Thomas Buchanan MLA
Mr William Irwin MLA
Mr Kieran McCarthy MLA
Mr Oliver McMullan MLA
Mr Robin Swann MLA

Apologies:

Mrs Joanne Dobson MLA

1.54 p.m. The meeting commenced in Open Session

Agreed: The Committee agreed to take agenda item 5 in closed session at the start of the meeting.

1.55 p.m. The meeting moved into Closed Session

1. Bovine TB Review – DEFRA Oral Briefing

Officials  from the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories, DEFRA, joined the meeting;

The officials briefed the Committee and this was followed by a question and answer.

1.57p.m. Mr Buchanan joined the meeting

2.08p.m. Mr Swann joined the meeting

2.31p.m. Mr McMullan left the meeting

2.35p.m. Mr McMullan re-joined the meeting

2.45p.m. Mr Irwin left the meeting

2.48p.m. Mr Irwin re-joined the meeting

2.52 p.m. The meeting moved into Open Session

Agreed: The Committee agreed to take agenda item 6 next.

2. Ministerial Briefing

The Minister and the following Departmental officials joined the meeting:

Michelle O’Neill MLA, Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development

Gerry Lavery, Permanent Secretary

Bert Houston, Chief Veterinary Officer; and Colette McMaster, Grade 5, Director of Animal Health and Welfare.

The Minister briefed the Committee and this was followed by a question and answer session.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to request that they receive some further detail in regards to the Departments proposals to implement a 'Wildlife Intervention Strategy'.

Agreed: The Committee further agreed that DARD give due consideration to how the Committee can be kept informed in the event of crisis, such as the recent flooding of Dundonald House.

3.50p.m. Mr Buchanan left the meeting

3. Apologies

Mr Joe Byrne (Deputy Chairperson)

Mr Trevor Clarke

Mrs Jo-Anne Dobson

Mr Chris Hazzard

4. Chairperson's Business

Noted: The Committee noted the Chairperson report on the meeting with the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure, and the Foyle Association of Salmon and Trout Anglers (FASTA).

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward the documents provided by FASTA to the Department for comment. The Committee noted the recommendation regarding a levy on the Rod Licence to buy out netting rights and are asking DARD to specifically respond on whether this would be compatible with Government accounting rules and financial procedures.  The Committee are also interested in how this proposal could work on a practical level.

Agreed: The Committee further requested that the Minister should meet with representatives from FASTA to discuss the issues that are causing the organisation concern and that a brief of that meeting be provided to the Committee.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to invite the Loughs Agency to give evidence discuss the issues raised by FASTA and to discuss the extent of poaching, any detection strategy and prosecution rates.  The Committee is also interested in restocking and tagging issues. 

5. Minutes of the meeting 26 July 2012

Agreed: The Committee agreed the Minutes of the meetings held on 26 June 2012.

6. Matters Arising

Noted: The Committee noted the correspondence from the Ulster Wildlife Trust providing the requested research paper from Cheeseman and Mallinson in relation to Bovine TB.

Agreed: The Committee noted the correspondence from the Department in relation to the Draft Forestry Land Byelaws regarding the Committees concerns around 'Turf Cutting' rights. The Committee agreed that while the correspondence clarified the issue of those members of the public with 'Turbary' rights, it does not provide any further detail of how the Byelaws will affect those members of the public who cut turf but don’t have any rights.

4.03p.m. Mr Buchanan re-joined the meeting

Agreed: The Committee noted the correspondence from the Ulster Farmers’ Union in relation to the Draft Codes of Practice for Beef Cattle, Sheep and Meat Chickens and agreed that the Department should progress with the publishing of these codes.

Agreed: The Committee noted the Report from the Examiner of Statutory Rules highlighting that the Nitrates Action Programme (Amendment) Regulations (NI) 2012 was laid in breach of the 21 day rule. The Committee agreed to write to the Department to write to the Department to seek both an explanation to the points raised by the Examiner and assurance that this will be avoided in the future where possible.

4.06p.m. Mr Irwin left the meeting

7. SL1 - The Welfare of Animals (Dog Breeding Establishments) Regulations (NI) 2012

The following Departmental officials joined the meeting;

Kate Davey, Principal Officer

Andrew Kell, Deputy Principal; and

Paddy McGuckian, Divisional Veterinary Officer.

The officials briefed the Committee and this was followed by a question and answer.

Agreed: The Committee agreed both the list of invitees to its stakeholder event and the format of the event.

Agreed: The Committee further agreed that to ensure that event was a worthwhile exercise the Department should inform all those who responded to the DARD consultation of the substantial amendments the Department has made to its proposal as a result of the consultation.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that DARD officials should note that the role of the Committee, and the aim of its event, is scrutiny and evidence gathering to inform it regarding its consideration of the statutory rule.

8. Pre-Consultation – The Draft DARD 2020 Strategy

Agreed: The Committee agreed that the Department should return to the Committee with a detailed analysis of consultation responses and further agreed that the Department ensure that local councils are involved in the consultation.

9. Pre-Consultation – Changes to Standstill and the registration of Livestock Dealers

Agreed: The Committee agreed that the Department should return to the Committee with a detailed analysis of consultation responses. The Committee did raise concern as to why the consultation was not extended to the usual 12 weeks.

10. Pre-Consultation – Biosecurity Guidance for Brucellosis 

Agreed: The Committee agreed that the Department should return to the Committee with a detailed analysis of consultation responses.

11. Pre-Consultation – Animals and Animal Products (Examination for Residues and Maximum Residue Limits) (Amendment) Regulations (NI) 2012

Agreed: The Committee agreed that the Department should return to the Committee with a detailed analysis of consultation responses.

12. Consultation Outcome – Restriction of Sea Fishing within the Rathlin Island Special Area of Conservation and Special Protection Area

Agreed: The Committee agreed to progress this matter to the next legislative stage.

13. SL1: The Market of Fresh Horticulture Produce (Amendment)  Regulations (NI) 2012

Agreed: The Committee considered the Market of Fresh Horticulture Produce (Amendment) Regulations (NI) 2012 and were content with the merits of the policy.

14. SR 2012/241: The Plant Health (Amendment No.2) Order (NI) 2012

Question put and agreed;

That the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development has considered the Plant Health (Amendment No.2) Order (NI) 2012 and, subject to comment from the Examiner of Statutory Rules, has no objection to the laying of the Rule.

15. Correspondence

Agreed: The Committee noted correspondence from the Department regarding the PfG 2011-15 Departmental Delivery Plans and agreed to schedule a briefing on the Delivery Plans in September 2012.

Agreed: The Committee noted correspondence and a research paper from the Committee for Finance and Personnel regarding the main estimates 2012-13 and agreed to write to the Department to seek clarity on the two specific points relating to the Department.

Noted: The Committee noted the correspondence from the National Sheep Association inviting Members to the launch of their report on the ‘Role of Sheep in the Less Favoured Areas’. Members agreed to let the Committee office know if they intend to attend the event.

Noted: The Committee noted the correspondence from the Department to the Committee for the Office of the First Minster and Deputy First Minister regarding the Race Relations Amendment Order. 

Noted: The Committee noted the correspondence from the Department regarding the EU Rural Development Audit Mission June 2010. 

16. Forward Work Programme

Agreed: The Committee agreed the Forward Work Programme.

17. AOB

There was no other business.

18. Date and time of the next meeting

Agreed: The next meeting of the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development will take place on Tuesday 11 September 2012, at 1.30pm, Room 30, Parliament Buildings

The meeting was adjourned at 5.14 p.m.

Paul Frew, Chairperson, Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development

 

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