Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2012/2013

Date: 25 April 2013

Venue: The Senate Chamber

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

1. Apologies

There were no apologies.

2. Minutes

The minutes of the meetings on 11th and 18th April 2013 were agreed.

3. Chairperson’s Business

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a note        detailing a recent meeting with Larne Promenade Action Group.

Agreed: That a copy of the meeting note is forwarded to the Department asking for comment on the issues raised by the group.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a report detailing a recent meeting with Belfast City Airport Watch.

Agreed: That a copy of the group’s paper is forwarded to Belfast City Airport asking that they forward any response directly to Belfast City Airport Watch and recommending that the 2 groups enter into on-going dialogue.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to Belfast City Airport Watch outlining the Committee’s decision.

Mr. Boylan joined the meeting at 10:15am.

Mr. Milne joined the meeting at 10:15am.

4. Matters Arising

 Members noted a Departmental letter in relation to ‘Reform Inform’

Members noted a copy of the latest minutes of the Cross Departmental Working group on Climate Change.

Members noted the letter from the Minister for Regional Development which addressed Committee queries on the criteria used for road improvements.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department for Regional Development encouraging greater co-operation with DOE and asking what improvements could be made and what minor improvements requested by local councils remain outstanding.

Mr. Elliott joined the meeting at 10:17am.

The Chairperson informed members that a Departmental reply to the Committee request for comments on the Explanatory Memorandum on proposed Directive to establish a framework for maritime spatial planning and integrated coastal management had been received.

Agreed: That the response is forwarded to the Committee for the Office of First Minister and deputy First Minister.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with an e-mail from the District Electoral Area Commissioner’s office regarding resources.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the District Electoral Area Commissioner outlining the Committee’s concerns about the tight timetable for the DEA review and the potential implications for local government reorganisation if the timetable is not met and to ask that, rather than waiting until September 2013, any public inquiries should begin as soon as reasonably possible and that they should be held simultaneously rather than consecutively in order to ease the time pressures arising from the current timetable.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Secretary of State outlining the Committee’s concerns about the tight timetable for the DEA review and the potential implications for local government reorganisation if the timetable is not met and to support the provision of any necessary additional resources to the Commissioner in order to facilitate an accelerated programme of public inquiries.

Members noted a Departmental letter in relation to the Carrier Bags Bill.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply to Committee queries on spot checks in GB on Northern Ireland registered goods vehicles.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department requesting an oral briefing on this issue.

Members noted a Departmental reply to Committee queries on Drumclay Crannóg.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental forward work programme.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking for pre legislative briefings on the 3 Bills that the Department plan to introduce in May/June. Also to reiterate the Committee’s concern that it would not be practical to scrutinise 3 Bills at the same time.

Agreed: That, in relation to the future briefing on the Carrier Bags Levy, Departmental officials provide an update on the experience to date of shopkeepers on the current levy and if the Department is confident that it is receiving accurate data from shopkeepers.

5. Consultations 

Consultation on proposals for the outline scheme design for the new Local  Government Pension Scheme

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

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

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

Informal discussion paper on UK-wide Review of Producer Responsibility   Regulations

Agreed: Members were content to note this paper until the publication of the formal consultation paper in September 2013.

Consultation on proposed changes to planning fees

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

Consultation on proposals to introduce fixed penalties for offences related to operator licensing – synopsis of responses.

Agreed: Members were content for the Department to proceed with the policy.

Consultation on implementation of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Recast Directive 2012/19/EC and changes to the UK WEEE system

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking for a copy of the synopsis of responses and to clarify what the Department’s role is in relation to the consultation.

Consultation on policy options for a Bill to introduce recycling targets

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

6. Proposal for secondary legislation

SL1 The Motor Vehicle Testing (Amendment) Regulations and The Goods Vehicles (Testing) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2013

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

7. Statutory Rules

SR 2013/96 The Planning (General Development) (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2013

Question put and agreed: That the Committee for the Environment has considered Statutory Rule 2013/96 – The Planning (General Development) (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2013 and has no objection to the rule subject to the next report of the Examiner of Statutory Rules.

8. Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill

 The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a Departmental reply to the Committee’s comments on repeat drink drive offenders.

Agreed: That the Committee Secretariat prepares a draft Committee statement welcoming the Minister’s decision to take on board Committee comments on repeat drink drive offenders in the Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill.

9. Correspondence

The Chairperson informed members that they had received a Departmental response to correspondence forwarded on behalf of Home-Start in relation to their new partnership with Giveacar

Agreed: To forward a copy of the response to the original correspondent

The Chairperson informed members that they had received a request from the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People to meet with the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson to discuss legislation on RPA and Shared Youth Councils.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People explaining that the Committee will seek their views together with the views of other stakeholders once the Bill commences Committee stage.

Members noted the following correspondence:

Email from the Holywell Trust detailing the next major events in the Walls! 400 programme.

Copy of Article 31 – notice to approve planning application S/2012/0691/F – Peace Building and Conflict Resolution Centre

Invitation for the Chairperson to attend the Meeting of Chairpersons of Environment and Energy Committees, to be held in Dublin on the 12th and 13th May 2013

 

10. Initial clause by clause consideration of the Planning Bill

The meeting went into closed session at 10.54a.m. to allow the Committee to receive advice from the Bill Office.

The meeting resumed in open session at 11.02a.m.

 The Committee Chairperson informed members that they had been provided additional written evidence from the Northern Ireland Biodiversity Group and the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society.

Agreed: Members agreed that they were content to accept the additional papers and include them in the final Committee report.

The Committee commenced the initial clause by clause consideration of the Planning Bill with discussion on issues raised by stakeholders in relation to Clauses 1 – 6.

Mr McElduff left the meeting at 11.55am

Mr McElduff re-joined the meeting a 12.24pm

Mr Elliott left the meeting at 12.30pm

Mr Weir left the meeting at 12.32pm

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking that they respond to any additional issues raised at the Stakeholder Event on the 18th April which were not yet addressed in the Department’s written response to the clause by clause summary of responses table.

Agreed: That the Department provides a rationale for the inclusion of the objective of promoting economic development (in Clause 2) and the inclusion of Clause 6.

11. Any other business

A member raised the issue of the North West Waste Planning Application.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking for a comprehensive response on this issue.

Mr Weir re-joined the meeting at 12:42pm

A member raised the issue of a consultation on recycling fees.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking if there is a current consultation on this issue or if there are plans for a future consultation.

Mr Ross left the meeting at 12:44pm

The meeting moved in closed session at 12.44pm

12. Used Tyre Inquiry Final Report

The Committee considered its final report on the Used Tyre Inquiry

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with an e-mail response from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to the Committees request for the OFT to investigate discrepancies between the levies charged by retailers under the Duty of Care system in Northern Ireland and those in other regions of the UK.

Agreed: That a copy of the WRAP 2007 survey is forwarded to OFT asking if it provides the necessary evidence for them to investigate the discrepancies.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a draft final committee report that encompasses the revised recommendations that were discussed at the meeting on 21 March.

Agreed: That the Committee is content with the Report as drafted.

Agreed: That the Committee is content to agree that the report should include the Department’s survey, all other relevant evidence received, the relevant sections from the interim report and an extract from the minutes of today’s meeting.

Agreed: That the Report is printed.

Agreed: That the Committee is content with the draft press release and the article for Tread magazine.

Agreed: That the Chairperson should deal with any media enquiries.

13. Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting will be held on Thursday 2 May 2013 at 10:00am in the Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12:46pm.

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

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