Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 21 June 2011

Venue: Room 30, Parliament Buildings

2.00pmThe meeting commenced in Open Session

1. Apologies

Mrs Jo-Anne Dobson MLA .

2. Minutes

Agreed: The Committee agreed the Minutes of the meeting of 14 June 2011.

3. Matters Arising

(a) Correspondence issued

The Committee noted correspondence issued since the meeting of 14 June 2011.

(b) Correspondence received

The Committee considered correspondence received since the meeting of 14 June 2011, as follows

The Committee noted the Department’s reply to a range of issues raised at its meeting on 31 May 2011. Members welcomed the prospect of further information on departmental staffing numbers and deployment details. Members expressed disappointment that they had not been furnished with details of the steps taken by the Department to address problems associated with applications for funding under the Rural Development Programme, including apparent discrepancies in processing applications.

Mr Frew, Mr T Clarke and Mr McMullan declared interests

Agreed: The Committee agreed that the Clerk should pursue these matters with the Department.

Noted: The Committee noted the weekly report on Bluetongue.

Agreed: The Committee notedcorrespondence from Dairy UK and agreed that the Chairperson should accept the invitation to attend the Finals of the Milk Cup tournament on 29July 2011.

Noted: The Committee noted that the Environment Committee had requested information from AFBI about alternative technologies for the disposal of waste generated in Abattoirs.

Agreed: The Committee notedcorrespondence from Templepatrick Action Community Association about the Rural White and agreed to await the outcome of the public consultation before responding, formally, to the Association.

Noted: The Committee noted an invitation for Members to attend the Queen’s University Showcase Event in the Long Gallery on 27 June 2011.

2:05pm Mr Murphy joined the meeting.

4. Presentation: Rivers Agency Business Plan 2011/12

The following Officials joined the meeting:

John Clarke, Chief Executive, Rivers Agency; and

Pat Aldridge, Director of Engineering, Rivers Agency .

Officials briefed the Committee on the Rivers Agency’s Business Plan for 2011/12 and this was followed by a question and answer session. Officials undertook to respond, in writing, to a number of specific queries.

2:22pm Mr Swann left the meeting.

2:45pm Mr Irwin joined the meeting.

2:52pm Mr T Clarke left the meeting.

5. Presentation: Forest Service Business Plan 2011/12

The following Officials joined the meeting:

David Small, Chief Executive, Rivers Agency and

John Joe O’Boyle, Directory of Forestry Rivers Agency

Officials briefed the Committee on the Forest Service’s Business Plan for 2011/12 and this was followed by a question and answer session. Officials undertook to respond, in writing, to a number of specific queries. The bylaws proposed under the Forestry Act (NI) 2010, which are the subject of public consultation, were also discussed. Members took the opportunity to express concern about a number of these proposals.

3:04pm Mr Swann re-joined the meeting.

3:10pm Mr McCarthy joined the meeting.

3:22pm Mr T Clarke re-joined the meeting.

6. Presentation: The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) – Key Issues for the Industry

The following representatives from the UFU joined the meeting:

John Thompson, President;

Harry Sinclair, Deputy President;

Ian Marshal, Deputy President;

Clarke Black, Chief Executive; and

Wesley Aston, Policy Director.

The UFU representatives briefed the Committee on the key issues and challenges facing the industry and this was followed by a question and answer session. The UFU representatives undertook to provide the Committee with some additional information, including a copy of its recent submission to the Minister.

4:04pm Mr Buchanan joined the meeting.

4:11pm Mr Murphy and Mrs Kelly left the meeting.

7. Pre-Consultation: Cattle Identification (Notification of Births, Deaths and Movements) (Amendment) Regulations (NI) 2011

Agreed: The Committee agreed that it was content that this matter should move to consultation stage, provided that the Department returns with a detailed analysis of consultation responses.

8. Pre-Consultation: Welfare of Animals (Permitted Procedures By Lay Persons) Regulations (NI) 2012

Agreed: The Committee agreed that it was content that this matter should move to consultation stage, provided that the Department returns with a detailed analysis of consultation responses.

9. Pre-Consultation: Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) (Amendment) Regulations (NI) 2011

Agreed: The Committee agreed that it was content that this matter should move to consultation stage, provided that the Department returns with a detailed analysis of consultation responses.

10. Pre-Consultation: The Seed Potatoes (Amendment) Regulations (NI) 2011

Agreed: The Committee agreed that it was content that this matter should move to consultation stage, provided that the Department returns with a detailed analysis of consultation responses.

11. Pre-Consultation: The Plant Health (Amendment No.3) Order (NI) 2011

Agreed: The Committee agreed that it was content that this matter should move to consultation stage, provided that the Department returns with a detailed analysis of consultation responses.

12. SL1 : The Aujeszky’s Disease Order (NI) 2011

Agreed: Members agreed that The Aujeszky’s Disease Order (Northern Ireland ) 2011 should progress to the next legislative stage.

4:47pm Mrs Kelly re-joined the meeting.

13. SL1: The Aujeszky’s Disease Order Scheme (NI) 2011

Agreed: Members agreed that The Aujeszky’s Disease Scheme Order (Northern Ireland ) 2011 should progress to the next legislative stage.

14. SL1 : The Pigs (Records, Identification and Movement) Order (NI) 2011

Agreed: Members agreed that The Pigs (Records, Identification and Movement) Order (Northern Ireland) 2011 should progress to the next legislative stage.

15. SL1 : The Dogs (Licensing and Identification) Regulations (NI) 2011

Agreed: Members agreed that The Dogs (Licensing and Identification) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011 should progress to the next legislative stage.

16. SL1 : The Dogs (Fixed Penalties) Regulations (NI) 2011

Agreed: Members agreed that The Dogs (Fixed Penalties)Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011should progress to the next legislative stage.

17. AOB

Agreed: The Committee agreed to invite a representative group from the Local Action Groups (LAGs) and Joint Council Committees (JCCs) to brief Members on their experiences of the Rural Development Programme.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to request information from the Department on the future of the Countryside Management Scheme.

There was some discussion about apparent discrepancies in how Rural Development Programme related planning applications were processed by the Planning Service.

18. Date of next meeting

Agreed: The next meeting of the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development will take place on Tuesday 28 June 2011, at 2.00pm, in Room 30 Parliament Buildings.

The meeting was adjourned at 4.55pm

Mr Paul Frew 
Chairperson, Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development 

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