Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 01 March 2012

Venue: Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings

The meeting began in public session at 10:08am.

1.       Apologies

Apologies are listed above.

2.       Minutes

The minutes of the meeting on 23 February 2012 were agreed.

3.      Chairpersons Business

Members noted a note of a meeting the Chairperson held with Crane Tyre Recycling.

Mr McGlone joined the meeting at 10:10am.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with an invitation from the Marine Task Force to attend its event on the Marine Bill on Thursday 22 March in Castle Espie.

Agreed: To contact Marine Taskforce and ask if a NI Assembly Researcher can attend the event.

Lord Morrow joined the meeting at 10:12am.

4.      Matters Arising

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply to Committee queries on the MOT process.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department to enquire about the process of how and where staff make a declaration of conflict of interest.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a letter from Quinns Coaches requesting to brief the Committee.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to Quinns Coach Hire to inform them that the Committee has written to both Department of the Environment and Department of Justice on this issue.

Agreed: That this letter is re-tabled when replies are received from Department of the Environment and Department of Justice on this issue.

Mr Kinahan joined the meeting at 10:15am.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply to Committee queries on the impact of smokeless zones on fuel poverty.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking for comparative figures for the price of smokeless and non-smokeless fuels, especially between bulk buying and small purchases. 

Members noted a Department for Enterprise, Trade and Investment response to Committee queries on renewable fuel targets.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply to Committee queries on the drawdown of European funding.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department to express the Committee’s disappointment with the amount of funding drawn down and ask if there are any other areas that could receive funding, eg modiolus reef project.  Also ask if any cross departmental projects could be funded and when the Barosso desk officers will be in post.  

Members noted a Departmental reply to Committee queries on proposed amendments to the Tribunal Procedure (Upper Tribunal) Rules 2008.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Ministerial letter in relation to the launch of electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department to request a full list of the 41 charging locations in Northern Ireland and ask why County Tyrone does not appear to be involved in the project.

Agreed: To contact those organising the event to ask if an alternative date/time could be arranged for the Committee to attend a presentation.

Members noted a Departmental reply to Committee queries on Statutory Rule 2012/19 – The Road Traffic (Immobilisation, Removal and Disposal of Vehicles) Regulations (NI) 2012.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with The Report of the Interdepartmental Working Group on Wildfires.

Agreed: That this report is re-tabled after the NIEL briefing on 8 March.

Members noted an Assembly Research paper on refuse derived fuel and closed loop recycling.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with an agenda for the ‘Greening the Cap’ seminar on 6 March.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department to invite relevant DOE officials to the event.

Members noted a Departmental reply on the Scheme Administration Charges for the Climate Change Agreements Scheme.

Mr Dallat left the meeting at 10:36am.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply to Committee queries on road safety funding.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department to express the Committee’s disappointment at the reply and ask for a list of projects that have received funding so far.  Also to ask if PCSPs could be utilised in the administration of funds and inform them the Committee noted that under current arrangements a cap on the amount that could be applied for would help ensure broader, fairer distribution.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Ministerial letter in relation to the UK Government response to the SAGE report on extremely low frequency electric and magnetic fields.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking for written briefing on the impact of radio corridors from NI Water on wind turbine planning approval rates.

Agreed: That a copy of the reply is forwarded to SEAT Action Group (Safe Energy for Armagh/Tyrone).

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with correspondence from the Committee for Finance and Personnel in relation to a Review of Budget Allocations.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department to ask it to assess its own budget performance in 2011-12 and that, based on this assessment, how it intends to improve its performance in the incoming year.

Mr Boylan left the meeting at 10:44am.

5.      Consultations

Synopsis of responses to the consultation on proposed changes to Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2007.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department to ask if it has any responsibility in relation to the regulation of scrapyards.

Synopsis of responses to the consultation on District Councillors’ Allowances and Multiple Mandates.

Mr Weir declared an interest as a member of North Down Borough Council.

Mr Clarke declared an interest as a member of Down District Council.

Lord Morrow declared an interest as a member of Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council.

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

6.       Proposals for Secondary Legislation

SL1 – The Smoke Control Areas (Exempted Fireplaces) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012.

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

7.       Statutory Rules

SR 2012/59 – The Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations (NI) 2012.

Question put and agreed: That the Committee for the Environment has considered SR 2012/59 – The Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations (NI) 2012 and has no objection to the rule subject to the Examiner of Statutory Rules report.

8.     Departmental briefing on the Marine Bill

Departmental Officials briefed the Committee and answered members’ questions on the Marine Bill.

The main areas of discussion were Marine Planning, Marine Nature Conservation and Marine Licensing.

Mr Dallat rejoined the meeting at 10:53am.

Mr Boylan rejoined the meeting at 10:54am.

Mr Campbell joined the meeting at 10:58am.

Lord Morrow left the meeting at 11:22am.

Mr McGlone left the meeting at 11:31am.  

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department to ask about the indicative costs of the introduction of the Bill, whether EU funding can be accessed to implement the Bill and what mechanisms will be put in place to ensure agreement between the relevant Departments when it comes to enacting the legislation.

9.      Departmental briefing on PFI contract for new MOT testing facilities

Departmental Officials briefed the Committee and answered members’    questions on the PFI contract for new MOT testing facilities.

The main area of discussion was the performance review of the PFI contract carried out by the Department.

Mr McGlone rejoined the meeting at 11:38am.

Lord Morrow rejoined the meeting at 11:52am.

Mr Campbell left the meeting at 12:03pm.

Mr Kinahan left the meeting at 12:15pm.

Mr Weir left the meeting at 12:26pm.

Mr Boylan left the meeting at 12:27pm.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department to ask it to provide the name of the PFI contractor and if it would be willing for the Committee to contact the contractor for a written briefing on this issue.

Agreed: That research is requested on any incoming EU Directives that may impact upon the MOT test and compliance with EU Directives on emissions between now and 2018.  

10.     Departmental briefing on implementation of the Goods Vehicles

(Licensing of Operators) Act

Departmental Officials briefed the Committee and answered members’ questions on the implementation of the Goods Vehicles (Licensing of Operators) Act.

The main areas of discussion were the synopsis of responses to the Department’s consultation and the level of fees in Northern Ireland.

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

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department to highlight that the Committee welcomed the imminent enactment of the legislation and the work the Department is doing to try to reduce fees to the GB level.

11.  Correspondence

Thank you letter from the Oil Fired Technical Association, and a request to forward a letter to the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to OFTEC to inform them a note of their meeting has been forwarded to the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment, The Committee for Social Development and the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development. 

Departmental response to queries forwarded by the Committee on behalf of the Education Committee in relation to school transport health and safety issues.

Agreed: That a copy of the response is forwarded to the Committee for Education.

Members noted the following correspondence:

Copy of RSPB new agricultural newsletter ‘Field of View’.

Article 31 planning decision E/2007/075/F.

Copy of Age NI’s response to the draft Programme for Government.

Copy of arc21 response to the draft Programme for Government.

E mail from Climate Northern Ireland thanking the Committee for attending the recent Climate Change Conference.

12.  Any other business

13.  Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting will be held on Thursday 8 March 2012 at 10:00am in the Senate Chamber.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 1:18pm.

The meeting reconvened in Room 144 in closed session at 1:33pm.

The following members were present: Ms Anna Lo MBE (Chairperson), Lord Morrow, Mr John Dallat, Mr Cathal Boylan, Mr Willie Clarke, Mr Francie Molloy and Mr Patsy McGlone.

14.  Tyre Inquiry – draft Inquiry Report into Used Tyre Disposal

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a copy of the draft Committee inquiry report into used tyre disposal.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with an e-mail from a Mr Glenn Miller in relation to used tyre disposal.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a tabled Departmental reply to Committee queries on prosecutions for illegal tyre disposal and any investigations into illegal tyre disposal.

Agreed: That correspondence from the Department, Mr Glenn Miller and the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government are included in the draft report.

Agreed: That appropriate research is requested.

Agreed: That appropriate amendments are made to the report.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 2:20pm.

Anna Lo, MLA
Chairperson, Committee for the Environment
8 March 2012

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