Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2012/2013

Date: 16 May 2013

Venue: Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings

The meeting began in public session at 10:09am.

The Chairperson informed members of a recent meeting with the Permanent Secretary and discussion relating to the proposed relocation of DVA jobs away from the Coleraine area.

Mr McElduff joined the meeting at 10:11am
Mr Weir joined the meeting at 10:12am
Mrs Kelly joined the meeting at 10:16am

Agreed: Members agreed to write to the Department requesting the relevant papers on the proposed relocation of jobs.

1. Apologies

Apologies were indicated as above.

2. Chairperson's Business

The Chairperson advised members that legal advice received on the Planning Bill would be considered at agenda item 8.

3. Minutes

The minutes from the meeting on 9th May 2013 were agreed.

4. Matters Arising

4.1 Members noted a Departmental reply in response to Committee queries on taxi issues.

4.2 The Chairperson informed members that a Departmental reply in response to Committee queries on planning enforcement had been received.

Agreed: Members agreed to write to the Department in relation to planning cases still outstanding after 3 to 5 years to ask for a breakdown by divisional planning office and an analysis of the reason for delay.

4.3 The Committee noted a Departmental reply to queries in relation to issues raised by Larne Promenade Action Group.

Agreed: Members were content to note and agreed to forward the response to the Larne Promenade Action Group advising that the Committee has no further role to play in the issue as this is an individual planning application.

4.4 The Committee noted a Departmental reply in response to queries on the Road Traffic Amendment Bill.

Agreed: Members were content to note the Departmental response. The Committee also agreed that a press release be issued.

4.5 The Chairperson advised members that a copy of the Examiner's Report had been tabled expressing serious concerns in relation to SR 2013 No.115, The Goods Vehicle (Community Licence) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2013, along with related correspondence from the Department.

Agreed: Members agreed that they were content with the Department's assurances regarding the Rule but expressed concerns that an amended Rule should be laid as soon as possible.

5. Consultations

5.1 Synopsis of Responses to the consultation on Proposed Changes to the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading Scheme.

Agreed: Members were content for the Department to incorporate the changes proposed in the consultation.

5.2 Synopsis of Responses to the consultation on the Revised NIEA Regulatory Charging Policy.

Agreed: Members were content for the Department to make provision for the annual adjustment of fees up to the rate of inflation when required.

6. Proposal for secondary legislation

SL1 – The Smoke Control Areas (Exempted Fireplaces) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2013.

Agreed: That the Committee is content for the Department to proceed to make the Statutory Rule.

7. Proposal for secondary legislation

SL1 – The Landfill (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2013

Agreed: That the Committee is content for the Department to proceed to make the Statutory Rule.

The meeting moved into closed session at 10:34am

8. Planning Bill

Assembly Legal services provided the Committee with legal advice in relation to the Planning Bill.

Mr Hamilton left the meeting at 11:14am

The meeting continued in public session from 11:17am

Mr Brian Gorman (Planning Service) and Ms Irene Kennedy (Planning Service) briefed the Committee on issues previously raised by members in relation to the Planning Bill.

Agreed: Members agreed that at further stages of the Bill the Chairperson should confirm with the Minister that the 3 terms used at Clause 2, 'furthering, promoting and advancing', may be considered as interchangeable.

9. Departmental briefing on River Basin Management Plans

Mr Gabriel Nelson (Head of Water Management Unit), Ms Bridgeen Magorrian (Principal Scientific Officer, Water Management Unit) and Mr Alvin Wilson (Senior Scientific Officer, Water Management Unit) briefed the Committee on the Department's River Basin Management Plan.

The main areas of discussion were poor water quality, the availability of European funding and educating the public in relation to this issue.

Agreed: Members agreed to write to the Department to ask for details for each of the nine catchment stakeholder groups; copies of reports from the inter departmental working group, details of the extent of involvement with Lough Neagh partnership in dealing with the issue and regular updates on progress of the implementation strategy scheduled for 2016.

The Committee also considered the possibility of carrying out an inquiry into the water management of Lough Neagh.

10. Federation of Passenger Transport briefing on Bus Operator Licensing

Agreed: Due to time constraints members agreed to reschedule the briefing with the Federation of Passenger Transport to a later date.

11. Correspondence

The Committee considered a request from the West Tyrone Against Wind Turbines group to meet to discuss their concerns.

Agreed: Members were content for the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson to schedule a meeting with the group.

The Committee considered a request to meet the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson from Re Gen Recycling to discuss the consequences of the proposed changes to the Transfrontier Shipment Payments.

Agreed: Members were content for the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson to schedule a meeting with the group.

The Committee noted a Departmental response received in relation to EU regulations on high speed electronic communication networks.

Agreed: Members were content to forward the response to the Committee for the Office of First Minister and deputy First Minister.

The Committee noted the following correspondence:

Correspondence from Chris Lyttle MLA regarding Assembly Committees monitoring of the delivery of the Programme for Government.

Letter from Joanne McDowell (NI Director, Big Lottery Fund) to inform the Committee of the recent appointment of the Space place Consortium and launch of the Space and Place Programme.

Members also noted a number of invitations received.

12. Forward Work Programme

Members noted the Committee's Forward Work Programme.

13. Any other business

No other business was discussed.

14. Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting will be held on Thursday 23 May 2013 at 10:00am in the Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 13:11pm.

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

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