Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 20 October 2011

Venue: Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings

The meeting began in public session at 10.08a.m.

1. Apologies

Apologies are listed above.

2. Minutes

The minutes of the meeting on 13 October 2011 were agreed.

3.Matters Arising

Members noted a Departmental reply to Committee queries on research into the effects of drink driving.

Departmental reply to action points from the stakeholder meeting with NI Archaeology Forum.

Agreed: That the reply is forwarded to NI Archaeology Forum.

Ms. Bradley joined the meeting a 10.11a.m.

Departmental reply to action points from the stakeholder meeting with Bryson Recycling and Northern Ireland Association of Independent Recyclers (NIAIR).

Agreed : That a copy of the response is forwarded to Bryson Recycling and NIAIR.

Agreed: That NIAIR is invited to brief the Committee as soon as possible and that the 3 Waste Management Groups are invited to brief the Committee after the procurement process is complete.

Mr. McGlone joined the meeting at 10.16a.m.

Departmental reply to action points from the stakeholder meeting with Fermanagh District Council

Agreed: That the reply is forwarded to Fermanagh District Council.

Mr. Clarke joined the meeting at 10.17a.m.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply to action points from the stakeholder meeting with QPANI.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking how flexible it can be in relation to the £10,000 fee for processing an environmental impact assessment and how the fee is being applied to date. Members would also like to know how the Department decided upon the fee amount.

Agreed: That the reply is forwarded to QPANI.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply to Committee queries on the October Monitoring Round.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department requesting information on how long it takes for individual planning applications to get through the system in each of the divisional planning offices. The letter is also to ask what the 18 planning officials returning from secondment would be doing on their return and what assessment has been conducted to establish a need for their posts.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department requesting more specific detail on the funds that were identified in respect to local government, advertising and legal costs that led to the request to reclassify the current funds to capital.

Members noted a Departmental reply to Committee queries on the business plan for the North South Interconnector planning application.

Members noted a Departmental reply to Committee queries on Air Quality Plans.

Mr. McGlone left the meeting at 10.32a.m.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a reply from the Department of Justice on gorse fires.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department of Justice thanking them for their response and to ask for details of what liaison there has been between the PSNI and the NI Fire Service in relation to hoax calls.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply to Committee queries on the Grange, Waringstown.

Agreed: That the reply is forwarded to the Waringstown Objectors’ group, and a letter is forwarded to the group reiterating the Committee’s position.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with an article from Agenda NI in relation to infrastructure priorities.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking for information on the Thompson Dock Gate Project, and to express members’ disappointment that the Committee does not appear to have been informed of this project, and to ask the reasons for this.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a draft reply to the All Party Working Group on Construction.

Agreed: That the response is forwarded to the All Party Working Group on Construction.

Members noted a reply from the Department of Justice to Committee queries on Magistrates’ Courts Rules and agreed that the reply is forwarded to NILGA.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply to Committee queries on River Basin Management Plans.

Agreed: That the reply is forwarded to Mr. Martin of the Six Mile Water Trust Committee.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking for more information on the £500k Departmental budget allocated to implement River Basin Management Plans as members feel that this amount of money is inadequate to achieve the required protection of rivers and are concerned about the impact this will have on the environment and tourism. The letter is also to state the Committee’s disappointment at the bid for river restoration across departments being unsuccessful. The letter is to urge the Department not to overlook the of protecting smaller rivers and those in urban areas and in the absence of funding from a single use bag levy; members would like the Department to raise River Basin Management up the Department’s list of priorities for funding.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development and to the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure expressing members concern over the lack of coordination between departments that have responsibility for river management.

4. Consultations

Mr Kinahan joined the meeting at 10.50a.m.

The following members declared an interest:

Lord Morrow – member of Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council

Mr Clarke – member of Down District Council

Ms Bradley – member of Newtownabbey Borough Council

Consultation on councillors’ allowances and multiple mandates.

Agreed: That a copy of the synopsis of responses is requested. The Committee also noted that it would be most appropriate for individual parties to respond to this consultation.

Consultation on draft Guidance on Councillors’ Allowances.

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

Consultation on fire extinguishers in motor vehicles.

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

5. Departmental updates

Mr. Molloy left the meeting a 10.59a.m.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental update on Article 31planning applications.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking for more information on applicants/agencies that are potentially causing delays in the system.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental update on post project evaluations and with information on Post Project Evaluations from the Committee for Finance and Personnel (CFP).

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department stating that the information provided by CFP does not seem to tally with that provided by the Department and would like an explanation on this discrepancy. Members also wanted a definition of the word “cleared” in relation to the evaluations.

6. Consumer Council briefing on cost of car insurance in Northern Ireland

Representatives from the Consumer Council briefed the Committee and answered members’ questions on the cost of car insurance in Northern Ireland.

Mr. Hamilton left the meeting at 11.15a.m.

The main areas of discussion were young drivers, rural consumers, restricted market choices in Northern Ireland and the Office of Fair Trading current investigation into the cost of car insurance in Northern Ireland.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department detailing the Consumer Council request for the Department to fast track the Graduated Driver Licensing system, to examine the potential to extend the “plus pass scheme” or a government recognised advanced driving course for young drivers, to implement regulations and practical systems to introduce continuous insurance enforcement in NI and to develop a targeted public awareness campaign on uninsured drivers.

Agreed: That an umbrella organisation for insurance companies is invited to brief the Committee.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Consumer Council asking for further information on how the figure of 35,000 uninsured drivers was derived. The letter is also to request a copy of the 2009 report comparing rural and urban insurance statistics.

Agreed: That Research and Information Service are asked to provide research comparing differences in ‘claim culture’ within the UK.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to Northern Ireland MPs detailing the issues raised by the Consumer Council. The letter is also to state that members support the position of the Consumer Council and that members feel that as many of these issues relate to companies operating on a UK-wide basis they urge MPs to also lend their support to the Consumer Council’s Campaign.

7. Ballymena Borough Council briefing on Committee Inquiry into used tyre disposal

Ms Bradley left the meeting at 11.39a.m.

Representatives from Ballymena Borough Council briefed the Committee and answered members’ questions as part of the inquiry into used tyre disposal.

The main areas of discussion were Ballymena Borough Councils tyre marking scheme, the role of the NIEA, enforcement and the flytipping protocol thresholds.

Ms. Bradley rejoined the meeting at 11.55a.m.

Mr. Molloy rejoined the meeting at 11.55a.m.

8. Newline Waste Solutions briefing on Committee inquiry into used tyre disposal

Mr Morrow left the meeting at 12.20p.m.

Representatives from Newline Waste Solutions briefed the Committee and answered members’ questions as part of the inquiry into used tyre disposal.

The main areas of discussion were the alternative uses for used tyres and the potential economic benefits from the development of these alternative processes.

Mr. Dallat left the meeting at 12.27p.m.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a note of Committee’s visit to R4 and OM Recycling.

The Chairperson informed members that they had also been provided with a copy of an e mail from OM in relation to NIEA and a copy of an e mail from NIEA in relation to restrictions on OM.

Agreed: That the Committee wants to see the Department being supportive of recycling businesses; providing an appropriate balance of guidance and enforcement.

Mr. McGlone left the meeting at 12.41p.m.

9. Correspondence

Letter from Mr Stephens regarding his concerns over the relationship between Built Heritage and the National Trust.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to Mr Stephens requesting further information regarding his concerns.

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

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

Email from Guide Dogs detailing the Department for Regional Development, supported by Translink and Guide Dogs pilot of audio visual information on Metro bus route.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Committee for Regional Development requesting that the Committee is kept informed of the progress of the pilot scheme and subsequent evaluation report.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking if it is aware of the project and if it anticipates any legislative change that may fall under the DOE remit.

Members noted the following correspondence:

Invitation to Climate Week Stakeholder Reception.

Mr. McGlone rejoined the meeting at 12.47p.m.

10. Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting will be held on Thursday 27 October at 10.00a.m.in the Senate Chamber.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.50p.m.

Anna Lo MLA
Chairperson, Committee for the Environment
27 October 2011

Find Your MLA

tools-map.png

Locate your local MLA

Find MLA

News and Media Centre

tools-media.png

Read press releases, watch live and archived video

Find out more

Follow the Assembly

tools-social.png

Keep up to date with what’s happening at the Assem

Find out more

Contact information

tools-newsletter.png

Contact us for further information about our work.

Contact us