Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 17 April 2012

Venue: Room 30, Parliament Buildings

1.33 p.m. The meeting commenced in Open Session

1. Apologies

The apologies are noted above.

2. Chairperson’s business

The Chairperson advised Members that an invitation from the Department to the launch of the Farm Safety Partnership on 1 May 2012, has issued to all Committee Members. Members were requested to advise the clerk if they wished to attend.

1.34 p.m. Mrs Dobson joined the meeting.

1.35 p.m. Mr McCarthy joined the meeting.

The Chairperson advised that he, Jo-Anne Dobson and Oliver McMullan attended an informal meeting with Departmental officials on 16 May 2012 to be briefed on the Department’s response to the EU Commission’s CAP Reform Legislative Proposals. The Chairperson advised that a copy of the Departmental response has issued to Committee Members for their information.

The Chairperson advised the Committee that the Department has issued invitations to Members to attend the DARD Breakfast at the Balmoral Show on 17 May 2012.

1.36 p.m. Mr Irwin joined the meeting.

3. Minutes

Agreed: The Committee agreed the Minutes of the meeting of 20 March and 29 March 2012.

4. Matters arising

Agreed: The Committee noted the correspondence from the Department dated 29 March 2012 regarding issues raised at the meeting on 13 March 2012 and agreed to write to the Department to seek clarification on the procedures/special characteristics they use to determine ancient woodlands.     

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the correspondence from the Department dated 22 March 2012 regarding Rural Crime and agreed to write to the Department to request an update on the initiatives discussed with the PSNI to tackle rural crime.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department of the Environment regarding concerns that planning policies do not take account of the impact on rural crime when applications for rural buildings are rejected. The Committee also agreed to highlight the difficulties farmers have with Planning Service when they wish to make a modification to premises.

1.40 p.m. Mr T Clarke joined the meeting.

Agreed: The Committee noted the correspondence from the Department dated 6 April 2012 regarding issues raised at the meeting on 20 March 2012 and agreed to write to MEPs expressing concern regarding the impending Pig Welfare Legislation and the disparity of implementation across Europe.

Agreed: The Committee discussed and agreed the need to undertake work on the Single Farm Payment Programme.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to issue a further invitation to Minister Coveney to attend a future Committee meeting.

1.58 p.m. The meeting was suspended.

2.38 p.m. The meeting resumed with the following Members present, Paul Frew,

Dolores Kelly, Michaela Boyle, Jo-Anne Dobson, Kieran McCarthy.

5. Pre-Consultation: Market Standards Regulations 2012

Agreed: The Committee agreed to note the correspondence from the Department on the pre-consultation: Market Standards Regulations 2012 and request a written synopsis of the responses once the consultation is completed.

2.40 p.m. Mr Irwin rejoined the meeting.

2.40 p.m. Mr T Clarke rejoined the meeting.                      

6. SR: The Dogs (Amendment) (2011 Act) (Commencement No 3) Order (NI) 2012

Noted: The Committee noted the SR: The Dogs (Amendment) (2011 Act) (Commencement No 3) Order (NI) 2012, which had been forwarded for information only as it is not subject to any resolution procedure from the Assembly.

7. SR: 2012/132: The Dogs (Licensing and Identification) Regulations (NI) 2012

Question put and agreed:

That the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development has considered the Dogs (Licensing and Identification) Regulations (NI) 2012, and, subject to comment from the Examiner of Statutory Rules, has no objection to the laying of the Rule.           

8. SR: 2012/95: The Foyle Area (Greenbraes Fishery Angling Permits) Regulations 2012

Question put and agreed:

That the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development has considered the Foyle Area (Greenbraes Fishery Angling Permits) Regulations 2012, and subject to comment from the Examiner of Statutory Rules, has no objection to the laying of the Rule.

9. Rural Development Programme

The following Departmental officials joined the meeting:

Pauline Keegan, Director of Rural Development

Gareth Evans, Principal Officer

Lorraine Lynas, Head of Rural Development Programme Management

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

3.00 p.m. Mr McCarthy left the meeting.

3.37 p.m. Mr Swann rejoined the meeting.

Mr Frew declared an interest as a Member of Ballymena Borough Council.

Mr Irwin declared an interest as a Member of SOAR.

Mr T Clarke declared an interest as a Member of Antrim of Borough Council and GROW.

Mr Swann declared an interest as a Member of the North Eastern LAG.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department to seek clarification on the budget for each Axis of the Rural Development Programme.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the JCCs to request a list of meetings in the last financial year in which a departmental official attended.

4.00 p.m. Ms Boyle left the meeting.

10.  Marine Bill

The following Departmental official joined the meeting:

Paddy Campbell, Deputy Principal

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

4.32 p.m. Mr McCarthy rejoined the meeting.

4.32 p.m. Mr Irwin left the meeting.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to consider a response to the Marine Bill at the meeting on 24 April.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward correspondence from the Department on the NI Marine Bill – Impact on DARD Responsibilities, to the Committee for the Environment.

11.  Draft Community Safety Strategy

The Committee considered that draft Community Safety Strategy and the comments by the Department.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed that the clerk would forward a response on the Draft Community Safety Strategy based on the issues raised during the discussion.

12. Correspondence

Agreed: The Committee agreed to further consider a request from Farmers for Action to brief the Committee on Bovine TB and CAP once written evidence has been received from the organisation.

Noted: The Committee noted the correspondence from the Ulster Farmers’ Union on CAP Reform and the impact of the reference year 2014.

Noted: The Committee noted the correspondence from the Committee for the Environment regarding the Department of the Environment’s decision on the Rose Energy Incinerator Plant.

Noted: The Committee noted the correspondence from the Committee for Social Development on the inclusion of Green New Deal in the PfG/Economic Strategy.

Agreed: The Committee noted the correspondence from the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment on the Food Sector Trade Mission to China and the recruitment of local food and drink producers. The Committee agreed to write to the Department to request a more definitive timeline for the announcement of the membership of the Food Strategy Board.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to Invest NI to request information on the assistance they provide to the agri-food industry and to request that they brief the Committee in September on this issue.

Noted: The Committee noted the correspondence from the Consumer Council regarding the Lord Whitty report on Coordinated NI Energy Policy.

Noted: The Committee noted the monthly update from the Department on developments in relation to the Schmallenberg Virus.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward correspondence from the Clerk to the Committee for the Environment on the Rural Development Programme and Dedicated Walking Routes to the Department for comment.

Noted: The Committee noted the correspondence from OFMDFM Committee on the DARD Investing Activity Report.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward correspondence from the Department regarding the Abolition of DEL and transfer of functions, to the OFMDFM Committee.

Noted: The Committee noted the thank you letter from RSPB regarding the recent Committee visit to Barnwell Farm, Greyabbey.

13. Forward Work Programme

Agreed: The Committee agreed to schedule a visit to a Single Farm Payment Centre on 10 May 2012 and request oral evidence on Single Farm Payments from the Department, Ulster Farmers Union, Northern Ireland Agricultural Producers Association and the Northern Ireland Agriculture Consultants Association on 15 May 2012.

Agreed: The Committee agreed the draft Forward Work Programme.

14. Any other business

There was no other business.

15. Date and time of the next meeting

Agreed: The next meeting of the Committee for Agriculture and Rural

Development will take place on Tuesday 24 April 2012, at 1.30pm,

Room 30, Parliament Buildings

The meeting was adjourned at 4.55 p.m.

Paul Frew, Chairperson, Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development

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