Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 26 June 2012

Venue: Room 30

1.34 p.m. The meeting commenced in Open Session

1. Apologies

Mr Joe Byrne (Deputy Chairperson)

Mr Chris Hazzard MLA

2. Chairperson's Business

Agreed: The Committee agreed to delegate authority to the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson during periods of recess to submit views on the releasing, or withholding of information in any non-routine / contentious FoI requests received.   

Agreed: The Committee agreed that press releases should not be issued during recess periods unless agreed by correspondence.

3. Minutes of the meeting 19 June 2012

Agreed: The Committee agreed the Minutes of the meetings held on 19 June 2012.

4. Matters Arising

Noted: The Committee noted the correspondence from the Department for Regional Development regarding Rural Road Safety.

Noted: The Committee noted the correspondence from the National Trust providing further information of a stakeholder meeting held in the Greenmount Campus in October 2011 around Bovine TB.

Noted: The Committee noted the correspondence from the Department regarding Provisional Outturn information and TB compensation estimates.

Noted: The Committee noted the correspondence from the Department, including correspondence from the PSNI Chief Constable on rural crime measures. The Committee further noted that a meeting with the Chief Constable has been requested and is being followed up by the Committee staff.

5. Research and Development in the Agriculture Sector

The following Departmental officials joined the meeting;

Dr Sinclair Mayne, Departmental Scientific Advisor

Rosalind Dempsey, Deputy Principal

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

1.56pm Mr McCarthy joined the meeting

2.01pm Mr Swann left the meeting

2.07pm Mr Irwin joined the meeting

6. Codes of Practice for Meat Chicken, Beef Cattle and Sheep

Agreed: The Committee noted the Departmental papers on the Codes of Practice for Meat Chicken, Beef Cattle and Sheep, and agreed that the draft code should be forwarded to the Ulster Farmers’ Union for comment.

Agreed: The Committee further agreed that future similar updates to the codes should be forwarded to the Ulster Farmers’ Union for comment prior to coming to the Committee.

7. Pre-Consultation: The Welfare of Animals at the Time of Killing Regulations (NI) 2012

Agreed: The Committee noted the Departmental briefing paper on the Pre-Consultation on the Welfare of Animals at the Time of Killing Regulations (NI) 2012 and agreed that to request that the Department returns to brief the Committee with a detailed analysis of submissions.

2.29 p.m. The meeting was suspended

3.12 p.m. The meeting resumed with the following Members present Paul Frew, Jo-Anne Dobson, Michaela Boyle, William Irwin and Oliver McMullan.

8. Agri-Food Strategy Board

The following Departmental officials joined the meeting;

Tony O’Neill, Chairperson to the Agri-Food Strategy Board

Keith Morrison, DARD Director of Food, Farm and Rural Policy

Dr Graham Hutchinson, DETI Director of Economic Policy

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

Agreed: The Committee agreed to request further clarity surrounding the responsibility or area allocated to each member of the Agri-Food Strategy Board.

9. DARD 2011/12 Out-turn report

The following Departmental officials joined the meeting;

Graeme Wilkinson, Finance Director;

Pauline Keegan, Assistant Secretary; and

Andrew Elliott, Director of EU-area based Schemes.

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

3.47pm Mr McCarthy re-joined the meeting

4.00pm Mr Swann re-joined the meeting

Agreed: The Committee agreed to request further information as to what money the Department were able to move from one axis to another, and whether they plan to do this year.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to ask DARD to clarify why it was not provided with a copy of the Rural White Paper prior to it being published.

10. SR: The Welfare of Animals (Docking of Working Dogs’ Tails and Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations (NI) 2012

The following Departmental officials joined the meeting;

Kate Davey, Principal Officer

Andrew Kell, Deputy Principal

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

Question put and agreed;

That the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development has considered the Welfare of Animals (Docking of Working Dogs’ Tails and Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations (NI) 2012 and recommends that it be affirmed by the Assembly.

11. SL1: The Agriculture (Student Fees) (Amendment) Regulations (NI) 2012

Agreed: The Committee considered the Agriculture (Student Fees) (Amendment) Regulations 2012 and were content with the policy merits of the proposals as set out in the SL1.

4.40pm Mr Irwin left the meeting

12. SL1: The Alien and Locally Absent Species in Aquaculture Regulations (NI) 2012

Agreed: The Committee considered the Alien and Locally Absent Species in Aquaculture Regulations (NI) 2012 and were content with the policy merits of the proposals as set out in the SL1.

13. SL1: The Forestry Land Byelaws (NI) 2012

Agreed: The Committee considered the Forestry Land Byelaws (NI) 2012 and agreed to request some clarity on a number of issues before it could progress the legislation.

4.45pm Mr Irwin re-joined the meeting

14. SR 2012/231: The Nitrates Action Programme (Amendment) Regulations (NI) 2012

Question put and agreed;

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

15. Correspondence

Noted: The Committee noted correspondence from the Committee for Finance and Personnel regarding the Departmental Savings Delivery Plans – March 2012.

Agreed: The Committee noted the correspondence from the Department providing an update on the Schmallenberg Virus. The Committee agreed that the Department should only provide future updates if there are any significant developments in relation to the Virus.

Noted: The Committee noted the correspondence from the RSPB detailing their most current position on the Reform of CAP and further noted that the RSPB have stated they are willing to speak to individual Members if they so wish. 

Noted: The Committee noted the correspondence from the Committee for Finance and Personnel which details the future of EU Funding after 2013. 

16. Forward Work Programme

Agreed: The Committee agreed the Forward Work Programme.

17. AOB

Agreed: The Committee noted an invitation from the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure to attend an informal meeting with FASTA on Tuesday 3 July 2012, at 10.00am in room 144 Parliament Buildings.

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 3 July 2012, at 1.30pm, Room 30, Parliament Buildings

The meeting was adjourned at 4.52 p.m.

Paul Frew, Chairperson, Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development

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