Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 08 November 2011

Venue: 30

1.32pm The meeting commenced in Open Session

1. Apologies

None

2. Minutes

Agreed: The Committee agreed the Minutes of the meeting of 7 November 2011.

1.34 pm Willie Clarke and Jo-Anne Dobson joined the meeting. 
1.37 pm Oliver McMullan joined the meeting.

3. Matters Arising and Correspondence

Matters Arising

The Committee had further discussions about the Motion on ‘non-compliance’.

Agreed: The Committee noted that the Business Committee had agreed to schedule the debate for 14 November 2011 and Members agreed to proceed on that basis.

4. Correspondence issued

The Committee noted correspondence issued since the meeting on 25 October 2011.

5. Correspondence received

Agreed : The Committee noted correspondence from the Speaker and agreed that the Chairperson should attend the North South Parliamentary Forum Joint Working Group Meeting on 10 November 2011.

1.52 pm Trevor Clarke left the meeting.

Noted: The Committee noted the response from the Minister in relation to the NIRDP .

Noted: The Committee noted correspondence from the Public Accounts Committee regarding the Department’s public consultation on compensation for Bovine TB.

Noted: The Committee noted correspondence from the Committee for Finance and Personnel regarding the prompt payment scheme.

Agreed: The Committee noted correspondence from the Committee for the Environment regarding River Management and agreed to forward the correspondence to the Department.

Noted: The Committee noted correspondence from the Committee for Social Development regarding the Fuel Poverty Event on 16 November 2011.

Agreed : The Committee noted correspondence from the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure regarding the draft Forestry Bye-Laws and agreed to raise the issues at agenda item 6.

Noted: The Committee noted correspondence from the DALO dated 27 October 2011 regarding Poultry Litter Field Heap Trials 6 month extension period.

1.55 pm Kieran McCarthy left the meeting.

Agreed: The Committee noted correspondence from the DALO dated 27 October 2011 and the Minister dated 7 November 2011 regarding the Committee meeting on 11 October 2011 about various items including the NIRDP and Single Farm Payments. The Committee agreed to request a briefing from the Department on the Renewable Energy and Alternative Land Use and further agreed to be copied into any response the Department may send to DEFRA in relation to the future of Seafish.

Noted: The Committee noted correspondence from the DALO dated 28 October 2011 regarding the Committee meeting on 11 October 2011 about the Rivers Agency.

1.59 pm Trevor Clarke re-joined the meeting. 
2.00 pm Dolores Kelly joined the meeting.

Noted: The Committee noted correspondence from the DALO dated 31 October 2011 regarding the Committee meeting on 11 October 2011 about support for small food producers.

Noted: The Committee noted correspondence from the DALO dated 3 November 2011 regarding the Committee meeting on 11 October 2011 about the research paper in relation to Rivers Agency.

Agreed: The Committee noted correspondence from the DALO dated 28 October 2011 regarding the Committee meeting on 18 October 2011 about a number of issues and agreed to forward the letter regarding Septic Tanks to the Environment Committee.

Noted: The Committee noted correspondence from Miss Anne McIntosh, Chairperson of the EFRA Committee regarding the Groceries Code Adjudicator.

Noted: The Committee noted correspondence from the Post 19 Lobby Group.

Agreed: The Committee noted correspondence from the Livestock and Meat Commission and agreed to revisit the information when the Committee receive the relevant response from the Department.

Agreed: The Committee noted correspondence from Joyce Watterson, from the Institute of Agri-food and Land Use, QUB and agreed, in principle, to visit on Tuesday 22 November 2011.

2.06 pm Thomas Buchanan joined the meeting.

Agreed: The Committee noted correspondence from Garry Gregg regarding Sea Bass regulations and agreed to write to Mr Gregg to let him know his correspondence will be considered when the Department bring forward the relevant legislative proposals.

2.07 pm Conor Murphy left the meeting.

Agreed : The Committee noted correspondence from Banbridge District Council regarding Potato prices and agreed to write to the Minister. The Committee further agreed to write in similar terms to the ‘Big 4 supermarkets’ in Northern Ireland.

4. Presentation – Ulster Farmers Union – CAP reform

The following witnesses joined the meeting:

Mr Wesley Aston, Ulster Farmers' Union; 
Mr Ian Marshal, Ulster Farmers' Union; 
Mr Harry Sinclair, Ulster Farmers' Union; 
Mr John Thompson, Ulster Farmers' Union; 
Mr Clarke Black, Ulster Farmers' Union

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

2.15 pm Conor Murphy re-joined the meeting. 
2.15 pm Trevor Clarke left the meeting. 
2.28 pm Trevor Clarke re-joined the meeting. 
2.40 pm Jo-Anne Dobson left the meeting. 
2.46 pm Conor Murphy left the meeting.

During this item William Irwin Declared an Interest.

5. Presentation – DARD– EU Proposals CAP reform

The following officials joined the meeting:

Mr Norman Fulton, DARD; 
Mr Mark McLean, DARD; 
Mrs Lorraine Lynas, DARD

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

Noted: The Committee noted that the Department intends to start a public consultation on the proposals on the 9 November 2011 with a closing date of 7 February 2012. Officials confirmed their intention to return to the Committee when submissions are collated and analysed.

Agreed: Members agreed that the Department should provide the Committee with a structured timeline for the consultation period which should include all events, and stressed the need to ensure public accessibility to the consultation.

3.04 pm Conor Murphy re-joined the meeting. 
3.28 pm William Irwin left the meeting. 
3.28 pm Kieran McCarthy re-joined the meeting.

6. Presentation - DARD – Forestry Land Byelaws

The following officials joined the meeting:

Mr Malcolm Beatty, DARD; 
Mr Michael McCann, DARD; 
Mr John Joe O'Boyle, DARD

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

Agreed: The Committee noted the responses submitted to the Forestry Bye-laws consultation and discussed the issues raised with the officials, including representations made by the Culture, Arts and Leisure Committee. Members expressed concerns about the restrictive, rather than the permissive, tone of the proposed Bye-Laws. Members agreed that the Department should return to the Committee with a draft copy of the proposed bye-laws in due course.

3.41 pm Kieran McCarthy and William Irwin re-joined the meeting. 
3.56 pm Dolores Kelly left the meeting. 
4.01 pm Willie Clarke left the meeting. 
4.16 pm Willie Clarke re-joined the meeting.

During this item Trevor Clarke Declared an Interest.

7. Committee Stakeholder event - NIRDP

The Chairperson outlined his vision for the Stakeholder event.

Noted: The Committee noted that the Clerk would be meeting with the RDC, LAGs and JCCs on 10 November 2011.

4.23 pm Oliver McMullan left the meeting. 
4.30 pm Dolores Kelly and Kieran McCarthy re-joined the meeting.

8. Committee for Finance and Personnel ‘Review of Financial Process’ – Statutory Committees Input

Agreed: The Committee noted the Department of Finance and Personnel discussion paper on the review of the financial process in Northern Ireland and agreed to consider the matter again, next week.

4.32 pm Trevor Clarke and Conor Murphy left the meeting.

9. SL1: Diseases of Animals (Importation of Machinery & Vehicles) Order (NI) 2011

Agreed: The Committee agreed that the Diseases of Animals (Importation of Machinery & Vehicles) Order (NI) 2011 should progress to the next legislative stage.

Agreed: The Committee further agreed to ask the Department what processes are in place in ports in England and Wales to inform people on the regulations relating to the importation of Machinery & Vehicles.

10. SL1: The Fodder Plant Seeds (Amendment) Regulations (NI) 2011

Agreed: The Committee agreed that the Fodder Plant Seeds (Amendment) Regulations (NI) 2011 should progress to the next legislative stage.

11. SR 2011/249 Cattle Identification (Notification of Births, Deaths and Movements) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011

Question put and Agreed:

That the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development has considered the Cattle Identification (Notification of Births, Deaths and Movements) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011 and has no objection to the rule.

12. SR 2011/251 The Seed Potatoes (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011

Question put and Agreed:

That the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development has considered the Seed Potatoes (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011 and has no objection to the rule.

13. SR 2011/352 The Plant Health (Amendment No.3) Order (Northern Ireland) 2011

Question put and Agreed:

That the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development has considered the Plant Health (Amendment No.3) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011 and has no objection to the rule.

14. Chairperson’s Business

Noted: The Committee noted the Committee’s Forward Work Programme.

Agreed: The Committee noted outstanding replies to correspondence issued and agreed to issue reminders in respect of this correspondence.

Noted: The Committee noted that the Environment Farming and Rural Affairs Committee is holding an Inquiry into the CAP proposals and the relevant Welsh Committee has established a sub-committee ‘Common Agricultural Policy Task and Finish Group’ which is also holding an inquiry.

15. Any Other Business

Noted: The Committee noted that next Tuesday it will host the Joint Committee on Communications, Natural Resources and Agriculture from the Houses of the Oireachtas in the Private Members Dining Room, when the event will take place at 11.00am.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to request that the Rivers Agency come before them to discuss how water levels in Lough Neagh are controlled in the context of flooding farmlands around the Lough.

16. Date of next meeting

Agreed: The next meeting of the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development will take place on Tuesday 15 November 2011, at 2.00pm, Room 30, in Parliament Buildings.

The meeting was adjourned at 4.51pm

Paul Frew, Chairperson, Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development

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