Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 20 March 2012

Venue: Room 29, Parliament Buildings

1.34 p.m. The meeting commenced in Open Session

1. Apologies

There were no apologies.

2. Chairperson’s business

The Chairperson advised that Minister Coveney has been invited to the DARD Breakfast at the Balmoral Show on 17 May 2012. An invite will issue from the Committee to Minister Coveney to attend the Committee meeting planned for the same date, along with an invite to MEPs.

1.35 p.m. Mrs Dobson joined the meeting.

The Chairperson advised that he and the deputy Chairperson had met with Margaret Ritchie to discuss the establishment of linkages with the EFRA Committee and the ARD Committee. Ms Ritchie has agreed to discuss with the EFRA Committee a potential visit to Northern Ireland to see examples of good farming practice. The Chairperson further advised that it is anticipated that a monthly meeting will take place with Ms Ritchie to have further discussions.

3. Minutes

Agreed: The Committee agreed the Minutes of the meeting of 13 March 2012.

4. Matters arising

Agreed: The Committee noted the correspondence from the Department dated 15 March 2012 confirming receipt of the European Commission position on Strangford Lough and agreed to write and seek clarification as to why the letter cannot be made available to the Committee.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward the response from the Department regarding the rota and costs for attending Local Shows to the Tyrone Farming Association.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department to request costs for the five DARD commitments proposed but not included in the Programme for Government and ask how the Department will be monitoring the progress of the commitments.

Agreed: The Committee noted the correspondence from the Department dated 15 March 2012 regarding issues raised at the meeting on 28 February 2012 and agreed to write to the Department to ask if any discussions have taken place with DEFRA regarding the impending EU legislation on Pig Welfare.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Office of the NI Executive in Brussels to request information on the progress made by other EU States on the implementation of the Pig Welfare Directive.

Noted: The Committee noted the correspondence from the Minister dated 16 March 2012 regarding issues raised at the meeting on 14 February 2012.

5. New Codes of Practice on keeping dogs, cats, rabbits, equines and non-human primates

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department to ascertain if they engaged with other jurisdictions that have already put in place similar codes of practice, in order to share knowledge and avoid duplication of work and to assist in keeping costs to a minimum.      

6.  SL1: The Plant Health (Amendment) Order (NI) 2012

The Committee considered the Plant Health (Amendment) Order (NI) 2012 and were content with the policy merits as set out in the SL1.

7. SR: The Aujeszky’s Disease Order (NI) 2012

Question put and agreed:

That the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development has considered SR 65/2012: The Aujeszky’s Disease Order (NI) 2012 and had no objection to the rule.          

8. The Aujeszky’s Disease Scheme Order (NI) 2012

Question put and agreed:

That the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development has considered SR: 66/2012: The Aujeszky’s Disease Scheme Order (NI) 2012 and has no objection to the rule.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to move to Agenda Item 11 before the meeting was suspended to allow Members to be present for Questions to the Minister in the Chamber.

9. Committee Review on Bovine TB – Work Programme

Agreed: The Committee agreed the list of identified witnesses to present evidence to the Committee.

Agreed: The Committee agreed the list of identified witnesses to provide written evidence to the Committee.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to request written evidence from retired vets.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to reconsider a visit to the UK in June and South Down in September as part of the Bovine TB Review and the next meeting.

Agreed: The Committee agreed the draft Press Release

Agreed: The Committee agreed to suspend the proceedings to allow Members to attend Questions to the Minister in the Chamber.

1.57 p.m.   The meeting was suspended

2.36 p.m. The meeting resumed with the following Members present Paul Frew, Dolores Kelly, Michaela Boyle, William Irwin, Oliver McMullan and Robin Swann.

The Committee resumed its discussion on the Committee Review Bovine TB Work Programme.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department to request a breakdown on incidents of bovine TB in dairy and beef cattle and to ask if there are no statistics held why this would be the case.

10. Consultation responses on the EU commission proposals for CAP Reform Post 2012

2.45 p.m. Mr W Clarke and Mrs Dobson joined the meeting

The following Departmental officials joined the meeting:

Norman Fulton, Chief Agricultural Economist

Rosemary Agnew, Principal Officer

Lorraine Lynas, Principal Officer

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

Mr Irwin declared an interest as a farmer.

11. Single Farm Payment Process

The following Departmental officials joined the meeting:

Andrew Elliott, Assistant Secretary

Pauline Rooney, Senior Principal Officer

Bregeen Glendinning, Principal Officer

Sean McGrade, Principal Officer

3.26 Mr Swann left the meeting

3.31 Mr McCarthy rejoined the meeting.

3.42 Mr W Clarke left the meeting.

Mrs Dobson declared an interest as someone whose family receives the Single Farm Payment

Mr Irwin declared an interest as someone who receives the Single Farm Payment.

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

Agreed: The officials agreed to provide further information regarding the Form-Fillers Workshops.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Department to request a copy of the PWC Report on the Review of Decisions and the Department’s response and associated Action Plan.

4.10 Mrs Dobson left the meeting.

4.11 Mr Irwin left the meeting

4.12 Mr Swann rejoined the meeting.

12.  Correspondence

Agreed: The Committee agreed to schedule a presentation from AFBI into the Bovine TB Review Work Plan.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward correspondence from the Committee for the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister regarding the abolition of DEL to the Department to request that they consult with AFBI and CAFRE.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to record to the disappointment of Mr McCarthy and Mrs Kelly regarding the abolition of DEL.

4.15 p.m. Mrs Dobson rejoined the meeting.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward the correspondence from the Committee for the Environment regarding Scrutiny of the Marine Bill to the Department for comment.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward correspondence from the Committee for the Environment regarding a request for written evidence by the Rivers Agency to the Department and request that a copy of the response is copied to the Committee.

Noted:  The Committee noted the correspondence from the Rivers Agency regarding the consultation on the draft Reservoir Safety Policy Proposals.

Noted: The Committee noted the correspondence from the Committee for Finance and Personnel regarding Linking Budgets to outcomes.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward correspondence received by email on Hydraulic Fracking to the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment.

13. Any other business

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the Minister to request information regarding recent correspondence which issued to Chairpersons of both LAGs and JCCs on spending commitments and to ask the Minister for a definition of a Strategic Project. The Committee also agreed to request a list of measures which are available for application calls including the reasons behind certain closed measures.

14. Date and time of the next meeting

Agreed: The next meeting of the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development will take place on Thursday 29 March 2012, at 1.30pm, at Barnwell Farm, Greyabbey.

The meeting was adjourned at 4.21 p.m.

Paul Frew, Chairperson, Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development

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