Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2012/2013

Date: 10 January 2013

Venue: Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings

The meeting began in public session at 10:03am.

1. Apologies

Apologies are listed above.

2.Minutes

The minutes of the meeting on 13 December 2012 were agreed.

3. Matters Arising 

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply to Committee queries on the Chairperson’s meeting with CNCC.

Agreed: That a copy of the Departmental reply is forwarded to CNCC.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking that the Committee is kept updated with the progress of the EU Life + funding scheme.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department to arrange a meeting with the new Chief Executive of NIEA, Mr Terry A’Hearn.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply to Committee queries on the Chairperson’s meeting with the Community Transport Association.

Agreed: That a copy of the Departmental reply is forwarded to the Community Transport Association.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department expressing the Committee’s disappointment that no officials are available to brief the Committee on Bus Operator Licensing at its meeting on 17 January 2013.

Lord Morrow joined the meeting at 10:07am.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply to Committee queries on surplus planning staff.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking how, or if, the Voluntary Early Retirement Scheme fits in with the future wider transfer of staff and functions in relation to Local Government Reform and that the Committee expects to be kept informed of developments in relation to the transfer of personnel throughout the Local Government Reform process.


The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided an Audit Office reply to Committee queries on the MOT2 contract.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Auditor General asking for an update on the issues surrounding the contract before its meeting on 31 January 2013, when the Committee is due to be briefed on the vehicles testing strategic review.

Members noted a Departmental reply to Committee queries on the Cross Departmental Working Group on Climate Change

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

Agreed: That a copy of the Departmental reply is forwarded to SWaMP2008 asking if this reply addresses its concerns on this issue.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking what impact the reclassification of recyclates will have on Local Councils recycling targets.


The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with updates on the EU Roadworthiness Proposals.

Agreed: That the changes to the proposals are welcome and that a copy of the updates is forwarded to the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development for information.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply to the Committee’s request for an organisational structure for the new Marine Division.

Agreed:  That a letter is sent to the Department asking what impact there has been on existing Departmental structures in terms of costs and resources following the establishment of the Marine Division.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department to arrange a meeting with the Director of the new Marine Division, Mr Damian Campbell.

Members noted a Departmental reply to Committee queries on the Biodiversity Strategy.

Mr Boylan joined the meeting at 10:27am.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply to Committee queries on the PEDU report into the flooding response.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking for a further breakdown of the figures provided in the report.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Local Government Auditor asking for an opinion on the figures provided in the report.


Members noted a Departmental reply to Committee queries on the EU Green Paper on Marine Knowledge 2020.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a draft Committee Forward Work Programme.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department requesting that the Minister briefs the Committee shortly before each recess period as well as on any additional occasion required by the Committee.

Members noted a Departmental reply to Committee queries on the listing of post 1970 buildings. 

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a memo from OFMdFM regarding EU priority issues.

Agreed: That a briefing is requested from NI Assembly Research on this issue, before preparing a response.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply to Committee queries on the EU proposal for amending Directive 2011/92/EU.

Agreed: That a draft letter is prepared outlining the Committee’s position on this issue.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply to Committee queries on the consultation on the Rathlin Island Marine Site Management Scheme.

Agreed: That a Committee visit to Rathlin Island is arranged for April/May 2013.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply to Committee queries on archaeological excavations at Drumclay Crannog, Enniskillen.

Agreed: That a joint visit to Drumclay Crannog, with the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure, is arranged.

4. Departmental Update

Members noted an Article 31 quarterly update.

5. Proposal for Secondary Legislation

SL1 – the Road Traffic (Fixed Penalty) (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2013 and The Road Traffic (Fixed Penalty) (Offences) (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2013.

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

 6. Statutory Rules

Mr Weir declared an interest as a member of North Down Borough Council (three Local Government Statutory Rules).

Members noted SR 2012/417 – Local Government (2005 Order) (Commencement No 3) Order (Northern Ireland) 2012.

Members noted SR 2012/421 – Local Government (Boundaries) Order (Northern Ireland) 2012.

Members noted SR 2012/422 – Local Government (Indemnities for Members and Officers) Order (Northern Ireland) 2012.

SR 2012/437 – The Producer Responsibility Obligation (Packaging Waste) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012.

Question put and agreed: That the Committee for the Environment has considered Statutory Rule 2012/437 – The Producer Responsibility Obligation (Packaging Waste) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 and has no objection to the rule subject to the Examiner of Statutory Rules report.

SR 2012/442 – The Water Framework Directive (Priority Substances and Classification) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012.

Question put and agreed: That the Committee for the Environment has considered Statutory Rule 2012/442 – The Water Framework Directive (Priority Substances and Classification) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 and has no objection to the rule subject to the Examiner of Statutory Rules report.

SR 2012/451 – The Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) (Amendment No 3) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012.

Question put and agreed: That the Committee for the Environment has considered Statutory Rule 2012/451 – The Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) (Amendment No 3) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 and has no objection to the rule subject to the Examiner of Statutory Rules report.

SR 2012/453 – Pollution Prevention and Control (Industrial Emissions) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012.

Question put and agreed: That the Committee for the Environment has considered Statutory Rule 2012/453 – Pollution Prevention and Control (Industrial Emissions) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 and has no objection to the rule subject to the Examiner of Statutory Rules report.

7. Departmental January Monitoring Round Submission

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with the Departmental January Monitoring Round submission.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Minister expressing the Committee’s disappointment that the submission was sent to the Committee after the deadline for receipt by DFP.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking to be kept updated on the bids and the amounts awarded for the Dereliction Fund and seeking assurance that there is no possibility of a duplication of funding through the Social Investment Fund and/or Neighbourhood Renewal.  Also ask for further information on the technical transfer to DRD for the excavation at the Drumclay Crannog, the need for capital funding for implementing the Goods Vehicles Act 2010 and on the bids for Local Government Reform in this monitoring round.

8. Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply to Committee queries on the Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill, the synopsis of responses to the consultation and a copy of the full consultation responses.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department to offer the Committee’s congratulations on the decrease in road deaths in 2012 but stressing that there is no room for complacency in road safety.  Ask the Department if a person who has lost their driving license in Northern Ireland is subsequently banned from driving in the Republic of Ireland and other parts of the EU.  Also ask what is being done to tackle the problem of road deaths in rural areas and if there are any statistics available on the times of road accidents in Northern Ireland.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department confirming the Committee’s acceptance that consideration of the extended role of health care professionals should be deferred to the next road traffic amendment bill and its acceptance of the removal of a need for a preliminary breath test but that it will defer its decision on repeat offender penalties until it receives the additional information it requested on penalties issued to date for repeat offenders.

9. Correspondence

Copy of Assembly Research and Information Service Research paper on Financial Forecasting Performance Data: Scrutiny by Committees. 

Agreed: That a briefing is requested from NI Assembly Research on interpreting financial forecasting.

Letter from Belfast Chamber of Trade and Commerce seeking to brief the Committee on its work.

Agreed:
That Belfast Chamber of Trade and Commerce is added to the Committee stakeholder list and invited to the next Committee stakeholder event.

Departmental reply to queries forwarded by the Committee on behalf of the Ulster Society for the Protection of the Countryside in relation to the disposal of waste tyres in Northern Ireland.

Agreed: That a copy of the Departmental reply is forwarded to Mr Lamont, Ulster Society for the Protection of the Countryside.

Copy of the Chief Local Government Auditor Report – The exercise by local government auditors of their functions in the year to 31 March 2012.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking what measures it will be taking to encourage and monitor on-going improvements in absenteeism within local authorities.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Local Government Auditor requesting a briefing on this issue at a future meeting.

Copy of Explanatory Memorandum in relation to the Commission proposal for the 7th Environmental Action Plan (COM 16498/12 (ADD1-11)).

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking what input they have made to DEFRA on this issue and to keep the Committee informed of progress.

Summary of progress on the Department’s delivery of their capital projects – Investment Strategy for Northern Ireland Investing Activity Report – December 2012.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking for an update on the Roe Valley Hydro Scheme including the timing and estimated capital expenditure.

Members noted the following correspondence:

Copy of Bryson Charitable Group Annual Review for 2011 – 2012.

Copy of RSPB’s Birdcrime Report.

Copy of NIEL News – December 2012 edition.

Departmental response to Committee query on what action the Department intends to take in relation to the review of the Balance of Competences and when.

Copy of Urban Dimension of Cohesion Policy 2014-2020 provided by the NIA EU Scrutiny Coordinator.

Article 31 – letter to advise the Minister’s intention to refuse planning permission A/2009/0689/0 (redevelopment of Drumahoe Industrial Estate) & A/2010/0240/0 (retail superstore, Londonderry).

Article 31 – letter to advise the Minister’s intention to approve planning application A/201/0493/F – reconfiguration of homebase, Crescent Link Road, Londonderry.

Correspondence from B9 Organic Energy Ltd and link to a new report from the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) on energy targets.

Copy of Shared Space Research Journal – October 2012.

Copy of Local Government Staff Commission for Northern Ireland Annual Report and Accounts for 2011/2012.

Article 31 – letter to advise the Minister’s intention to approve planning application – S/2012/0421/F – redevelopment of part of former Maze/Long Kesh Prison site.

10. Departmental Pre-Legislative Briefing on the Planning Bill

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with the Draft Bill and a synopsis of reforms in the Bill.

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

The main areas of discussion were the new clauses, a timeframe for the introduction of the Bill and the subordinate legislation that will follow.

Mr Hamilton left the meeting at 11:32am.

Mr Hamilton re-joined the meeting at 11:53am.

Mr Ross left the meeting at 12:13pm.

11. Any other business
12. Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting will be held on Thursday 17 January 2013 at 10:00am in the Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12:14pm.

Anna Lo, MLA
Chairperson, Committee for the Environment
17 January 2013

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