Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2012/2013

Date: 09 May 2013

Venue: The Senate Chamber

Interests declared:       

Mr Sydney Anderson, member of Craigavon Borough Council.

Lord Morrow, member of Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council.

Mr Peter Weir, member of North Down Borough Council.

The meeting began in public session at 10:15am.

The Chairperson welcomed Mr Anderson as a new member to Committee and thanked Mr Alastair Ross for his contribution on leaving the Committee.

1. Apologies

None

2. Minutes

The minutes from the meeting on 2nd May 2013 were agreed.

3. Matters Arising

The Chairperson informed Members that a Departmental reply to Committee queries on community planning had been received.

Agreed: Members agreed to write to the Department asking for more information on the budget allocated to the pilots, how this funding can be accessed, how pilot areas will be chosen, and if all councils will be notified of the pilots and given the opportunity to apply to be a pilot area.

Members noted a Departmental reply to Committee queries on the proposal for a residual waste treatment plant at Mallusk.

Members noted a Departmental reply to Committee queries on a Green Paper on a European Strategy on Plastic Waste in the Environment.

The Chairperson informed Members that a Departmental letter had been received on the first Northern Ireland Adaptation Programme.

Mr McElduff joined the meeting at 10:20am.

Mr Milne joined the meeting at 10:20am.

Agreed: Members agreed to receive a briefing from the Department on this issue.

Members noted a Departmental reply to Committee queries on the consultation on the WEEE Recast Directive.

Mr Weir joined the meeting at 10.22am.

Mr Elliott joined the meeting at 10.24am.

Members noted a Departmental reply to Committee queries on a consultation on recycling fees.

Agreed: Members agreed to write to the Department for further clarification on the recommendation from the NI Ombudsman on the need for councils to ensure that they have legal cover for any charges which they make for services in this area. Concerns have been expressed about the possibility of councils charging ratepayers for recycling services.

The Committee also wishes to be advised of any current or previous consultation on fees relating to the transportation of plastic for recycling across EU member states.  

Members noted a Departmental update on Bus Operator Licensing.

4. Consultations

Synopsis of responses to the consultation on the revised Waste Management    Strategy.

Agreed: That the Committee is content for the Department to proceed with the policy.

Consultation on Industry Noise Action Plan 2013

Agreed: That a copy of the synopsis of responses is requested.

Synopsis of responses to the Consultation on Targeted Enforcement on the Single Use Carrier Bags Charge Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2013

Agreed: That the Committee is content for the Department to proceed with the policy.

Consultation on Single tier taxi licensing

Agreed: That a copy of the synopsis of responses is requested.

5. Departmental update

Members noted a Departmental update on the Gateway Review Action Plan.

6. Proposal for secondary legislation

SL1 – Amendments to the Waste Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011

Agreed: That the Committee is content for the Department to proceed with the   policy.

7. Statutory Rules

Draft SR – The Pollution Prevention and Control (Industrial Emissions) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2013

Question put and agreed: That the Committee for the Environment has considered draft Statutory Rule – The Pollution Prevention and Control (Industrial Emissions) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2013 and recommends that it be affirmed by the Assembly. 

SR 2013/115 - The Goods Vehicles (Community Licence) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2013

Question put and agreed: That the Committee for the Environment has considered Statutory Rule 2013/115 – The Goods Vehicles (Community Licence) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2013 and subject to report from the Examiner of Statutory Rules, has no objection to the Rule.

8. Correspondence

Email and letter from CMI Chartered Planners regarding over 200 jobs stuck in planning.

Agreed: That a copy of the correspondence is forwarded to the Department for comment.

Copy of the Guide Dogs’ Road to Nowhere report and a request to brief the Committee.

Agreed: Members agreed to forward the request to the Committee for Regional Development for their consideration as the issue is more applicable to their remit.

Copy of Assembly Research Paper – ‘Public Sector Renewable Generation Uptake’.

Agreed: That a copy of the paper is forwarded to the Department for information purposes.

Letter from the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment regarding permitted development for the telecommunications industry.

Agreed: That a copy of the correspondence is forwarded to the Department for comment and be copied into the Departmental response.

Members also agreed to write to the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment requesting copies of the relevant briefing papers from the Mobile Operators Association.

Letter from the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development regarding the EU Road Worthiness Proposals.

Agreed: That a copy of the correspondence is forwarded to the Department for comment.

Copy of EU Explanatory Memorandum on Shaping International Climate Policy Beyond 2020 and a copy of the Commission staff working document on an EU Strategy on adaptation to climate change.

Agreed: That a copy of the documents is forwarded to the Assembly EU Scrutiny Officer for information.

Copy of ASDA’s ‘Barriers to Growth in the NI Planning System’ including a request to brief the Committee on the recommendations.

Agreed: Members agreed that an oral briefing will not be required at this time.

Follow up letter from the Concerned Ringhaddy Area residents regarding their concerns for the shoreline and environs of Strangford Lough from the threat by builders and developers.

Agreed: Write to the group indicating the Committee stance in individual planning applications and suggest that that they forward their concerns to the NI Ombudsman.

Memo from the Committee for the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister regarding a proposal for an EU Regulations on measures to reduce the cost of deploying high-speed electronic communications networks.

Agreed: Members agreed to forward the correspondence to the Department for comment.

Members noted the following correspondence:

Copy of the Community Relations Council research journal ‘Shared Space’.

Copy of the Imtac report ‘All Aboard’ – an assessment of the current accessibility of public transport in Northern Ireland.

Email regarding the latest edition of First Flight Wind Newsletter.

Copy of April DOE Investment Strategy for Northern Ireland Investing Activity Report.

Correspondence from the Chair of the OFMdFM Committee in relation to the EC Proposal for Marine Spatial Planning.

Information regarding the Public Service Pensions Bill 2013. 

9. Briefing by Local Government Auditor

Ms Louise Mason (Chief Local Government Auditor) and Mr Rodney Allen (NI Audit Office) briefed the Committee on the Local Government Auditor Report 2012.

The main areas of discussion were the role of the Local Government Auditor and the accountability attached to the role.

Mr Weir left the meeting at 10:51am

Agreed: Members requested a paper from NI Assembly research comparing the powers of the Local Government Auditor in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Mr Weir re-joined the meeting at 11:05am

Lord Morrow left the meeting at 11:10am

Mr McElduff left the meeting at 11:12am

Members also agreed to write to the Local Government Auditor for details of the 10 councils which have not appointed an independent member to their audit committee.

Mr McElduff re-joined the meeting at 11:31am

Members also agreed to write to the Department to ask if provisions to change the powers of the Local Government Auditor would be contained within the Local Government Reorganisation Bill.

10. Departmental briefing on Consultation on Severance Arrangements for Councillors

Ms Julie Broadway (Local Government Policy Division) and Ms Marie Cochrane (Local Government Pension Scheme) briefed the Committee and answered members’ questions on the Consultation on Severance Arrangements for Councillors.

The main areas of discussion were in relation to the terms and conditions of the proposed severance package for Councillors.

Agreed: Members requested that officials provide the Committee with the costs of equivalent severance schemes in Scotland and Wales.

11. Planning Bill: Consideration of the Need for Legal Advice

 The Committee discussed the need for legal advice on some aspects of the Bill.

Mr McElduff left the meeting at 12:15pm

Mr Hamilton joined the meeting at 12:13pm

Agreed: Members agreed to request legal advice on the level of Departmental consultation on the Planning Bill.

12. Any other business

No other business was discussed.

13. Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting will be held on Thursday 16 May 2013 at 10:00am in the Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12:16pm.

Anna Lo, MLA
Chairperson, Committee for the Environment
16 May 2013

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