Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 24 April 2012

Venue: Room 30

1.31 p.m. The meeting commenced in Open Session

1. Apologies

The apologies are noted above.

2. Chairperson’s business

Agreed: The Committee agreed the draft Press Release on the Review into Bovine TB.

The Chairperson requested Committee Members to confirm or otherwise their attendance at the DARD Breakfast at the Balmoral Show on 17 May 2012.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to receive a briefing from the Department in closed session on the on-going issues surrounding Strangford Lough.

The Chairperson advised Committee Members that the Forward Work Programme for the next few weeks is very busy and that full attendance at each meeting would be appreciated.

The Chairperson advised the Committee that he had met informally with the Northern Ireland Audit Office before the meeting today.

3. Minutes

Agreed: The Committee agreed the Minutes of the meeting of 17 April 2012.

4. Matters arising

Noted: The Committee noted the correspondence dated 12 April 2012 regarding issues raised at the meeting on 22 March 2012 regarding the Programme for Government.

1.40 p.m. Mr Irwin joined the meeting.

1.50 p.m. Mr Swann joined the meeting.

5. Bovine TB Review – Oral Briefing NI Audit Office

The following Northern Ireland Audit Office representatives joined the meeting:

Robert Hutcheson, Director

Joe Campbell, General Audit Manager

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

2.00 p.m. Ms Boyle left the meeting.

2.05 p.m. Mr Swann left the meeting.

Mrs Dobson declared an interest as a farmer.

Mr Irwin declared an interest as a farmer.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to raise a number of issues identified in the Update Report for the Public Accounts Committee on Bovine TB, with the Department at the next meeting.

2.37 p.m. Ms Boyle re-joined the meeting.

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

2.55 p.m. Mrs Dobson left the meeting.

2.57 p.m. Mr Buchanan left the meeting.

The Committee discussed a proposed visit to England in order to inform the Bovine TB Review.

Agreed: The Committee agreed a visit to England on 19 and 20 June 2012 as part of the Bovine TB Review.

6. Pre-consultation on the Draft Strategic Plan 2020

The following Departmental officials joined the meeting:

Gerry Lavery, Permanent Secretary

Graeme Wilkinson, Assistant Secretary

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

3.01 p.m. Mr Irwin left the meeting.

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

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

3.35 p.m. Mr McCarthy left the meeting.

3.39 p.m. Mr McCarthy re-joined the meeting.

3.47 p.m. Mr T Clarke left the meeting.

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

3.51 p.m. Mr McMullan left the meeting.

3.51 p.m. Mrs Dobson re-joined the meeting.

3.54 p.m. Mr Swann left the meeting.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to request further information from the Department on all strategies and actions plans produced by DARD and the study report on rural tourism development with the NI Tourist Board.

7. Draft Business Plan 2012/13

The following Departmental officials joined the meeting:

Graeme Wilkinson, Assistant Secretary

Colin Hart, Chief Veterinary Officer

Pauline Keegan, Assistant Secretary

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

Agreed: The Committee agreed to request information from the Department on administration costs associated with the EU Rural Development and European Fisheries Programmes and further information on the 1500 technologies planned for the agri-food business.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to request clarification on the figures quoted for Brucellosis in the Programme for Government and the figures quoted in the Business Plan.

4.30 p.m. The meeting was suspended.

4.46 p.m.  The meeting resumed with the following Members present Paul Frew, Michaela Boyle, Tom Buchanan, Jo-Anne Dobson, William Irwin, Kieran McCarthy and Robin Swann.

8. The Marine Bill

Agreed: The Committee discussed the draft response on the Marine Bill and subject to minor amendments, agreed that it should be forwarded to the Committee for the Environment.

4.50 p.m. Mr Irwin left the meeting.

9. SR 133/2012: The Plant Health (Amendment) Order (NI) 2012

Question put and agreed:

That the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development has considered the Plant Health (Amendment) Order (NI) 2012 and has no objection to the laying of the Rule.

10. SR 158/2012: The Zoonoses (Fees) (Amendment) Regulations (NI) 2012

Question put and agreed:

That the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development has considered the Zoonoses (Fees) (Amendment) Regulations (NI) 2012 and has no objection to the laying of the Rule.

11. Correspondence

Noted: The Committee noted the correspondence dated 18 April 2012 from the Department regarding the DARD/AFBI Report on Poultry Litter and options for its utilisation and disposal.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to take evidence on this report on 8 May 2012.

Noted: The Committee noted the correspondence date 19 April 2012 from the Department regarding Single Farm Payment Review of Decisions Process.

12. Forward Work Programme

Agreed: The Committee agreed the Forward Work Programme.

13. Any other business

There was no other business.

14. Date and time of the next meeting

Agreed: The next meeting of the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development will take place on Tuesday 1 May 2012, at 1.30pm, Room 30, Parliament Buildings

The meeting was adjourned at 4.53 p.m.

Paul Frew, Chairperson, Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development

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