Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 17 November 2011

Venue: Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings

The meeting began in public session at 2.30pm.

1. Apologies

Apologies are listed above.

2. Minutes

The minutes of the meeting on 10 November 2011 were agreed.

3.Chairperson’s Business

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a copy of an invitation from NILGA for the Committee to participate in its conference on local government.

Agreed: That the Committee would participate in this event.

4. Matters Arising

Members noted a Departmental reply to the Committee’s request for more specific details of the proposed reclassification of current expenditure budget to capital investment in the October Monitoring Round.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply to Committee queries on the reduction of energy use across Departments.

Mr McGlone joined the meeting at 2.44p.m.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister requesting further information on the strategic approaches adopted and information on support provided to councils on achieving sustainable development strategy targets.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department stating the Committee’s disappointment at the response and encouraging the Department to have better targets in relation to buildings under its remit.

Members noted a Committee Secretariat comparison on MOT pass rates for cars and HGVs from 2008-2011.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a draft Committee response to the Executive’s discussion paper arising from its review of the Financial Process.

Agreed: That an amended response is sent to the Department of Finance and Personnel.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Ministerial letter regarding the Committee on Climate Change report on the appropriateness of a Northern Ireland Climate Change Act.

Agreed: That the Committee would attend the event organized in relation to this issue.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental letter in relation to its performance review of the PFI contract for Northern Ireland’s New Vehicle Testing Facilities.

Agreed: That a Departmental briefing is arranged for a future meeting.

Members noted a Departmental reply to Committee queries on protection of listed building.

Mr Hamilton joined the meeting at 3.00p.m.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Ministerial letter in relation to the lack of notification on the Belfast City Airport seats for sale issue and the cancellation of Departmental briefings.

Agreed: That a Departmental briefing is arranged for a future meeting in relation to how the 11 council model will be implemented.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a copy of the Ulster Wildlife Trust’s second complaint to the European Commission regarding the management of Strangford Lough Special Area of Conservation by the UK and Northern Ireland Governments.

Mr Weir joined the meeting at 3.13p.m.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking that the Committee be kept informed of any responses made by it or DEFRA and asking what contribution is made directly to the European Union discussions by departmental officials.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental letter in relation to the NIEA Enforcement Policy.

Agreed: That a Departmental briefing is arranged for a future meeting.

The Chairperson informed members that due to time restraints the Committee would move to the briefings scheduled on the agenda.

5. Departmental briefing on PPS 18

Mr Kinahan declared an interest as he has been offered a wind turbine.

Departmental Officials briefed the Committee and answered members’ questions on PPS 18.

The main areas of discussion were wind farms applications, single turbine applications and average process time of applications.

Mr McGlone left the meeting at 5.00p.m.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking for information on what percentage of wind farm applications are being processed within the 23 week target and for updated figures from each district planning office in relation to approval rates for applications and how many applications have been withdrawn from the system.

6. Departmental briefing on Taxi Enforcement

Mr McGlone rejoined the meeting at 5.04p.m.

Departmental Officials briefed the Committee and answered members’ questions on Taxi Enforcement.

The main areas of discussion were staffing and enforcement figures.

7. Briefing by Northern Ireland Association of Independent Recyclers on the waste management procurement process.

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

Representatives from the Northern Ireland Association of Independent Recyclers briefed the Committee and answered members’ questions on the waste management procurement process.

The main areas of discussion were the benefits of using local companies including cost saving and the disadvantages of the procurement process.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking what impact the 11 council model will have on the waste management procurement process.

The following items could not be discussed as the Committee lost its quorum and were deferred until the next committee meeting on 24 November 2011.

8. Consultations

Consultation on Taxi Fare and Taximeter Regulations.

Guidance for district councils on local environmental fixed penalty notices – synopsis of responses.

9. Proposals for Secondary Legislation

SL1 – Proposed introduction of Motor Vehicles (Access to Driver Licensing Records) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011.

10. Statutory Rules

SR 2011/385 – Control of Pollution (Oil Storage) (Amendment) Regulations (NI) 2011

SR 2011/386 – The Planning (2011 Act) (Commencement No 1) Order (NI) 2011

SR 2011/387 – The Planning (2011 Act) (Transitional Provisions) Order (NI) 2011

11. Correspondence

Email from OM Tyre Recycling regarding its continued operator license suspension.

Letter to the Minister from the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development in relation to outstanding correspondence.

Letter from the DARD Minister regarding the issue of flooding in Northern Ireland.

Copy of analysis paper on Committee Priorities.

Email from the Mourne ANOB Residents’ Action Group thanking the Committee for facilitating a meeting.

Invitation to attend the inaugural meeting of the All Party Group on European Environmental Regulations, Directives and Decisions.

Invitation to the Ballymena Planning Conference.

12. Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting will be held on Thursday 24 November at 10.00a.m. in the Senate Chamber.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 5.15p.m

Anna Lo MLA 
Chairperson, Committee for the Environment 
24 November 2011

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