Session: 2012/2013

Date: 19 November 2013

ISBN: Only available online

Committee: Regional Development

The Committee for Regional Development is a Statutory Departmental Committee of the Northern Ireland Assembly established in accordance with paragraphs 8 and 9 of strand one of the Belfast Agreement, section 29 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 and under Standing Order 48 of the Northern Ireland Assembly. The Committee has a scrutiny, policy development and consultation role with respect to the Department for Regional Development and has a role in the initiation of legislation.

The Committee has the power to:

  • Consider and advise on departmental budgets and annual plans in the context of the overall budget allocation;
  • Consider relevant secondary legislation and take the Committee Stage of relevant primary legislation;
  • Call for persons and papers;
  • Initiate inquiries and make reports; and
  • Consider and advise on matters brought to the committee by the Minister for Regional Development.

The Committee is appointed at the start of every Assembly, and has power to send for persons, papers and records that are relevant to its inquiries.

Membership

The Committee has 11 members, including a Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson, and a quorum of five members. The membership of the Committee is as follows:

  • Mr Jimmy Spratt MLA (Chairperson)
  • Mr Sean Lynch MLA (Deputy Chairperson)
  • Mr John Dallat MLA
  • Mr Stewart Dickson MLA
  • Mr Alex Easton MLA (2)
  • Mr Ross Hussey MLA
  • Mrs Dolores Kelly MLA
  • Mr Declan McAleer MLA (1)
  • Mr Ian McCrea MLA
  • Mr David McNarry MLA
  • Mr Cathal Ó hOisín MLA

1 Mr Declan McAleer was appointed a Member on 10 September 2012

2 Mr Alex Easton replaced Mr Stephen Moutray on 1 October 2012

End of Session Report for 2012-2013

This report covers the work of the Committee for Regional Development during the parliamentary year from 1 September 2012 to 31 August 2013.

As of 31 August 2013 the Committee considered 100 proposals to make subordinate legislation and 18 Statutory Rules.

The Committee held 31 meetings. The majority of these meetings were held in Parliament Buildings apart from 3 which were held in the following locations:

  1. Richard Branson Centre, Rathlin Island
  2. Adelaide Train Facility, Belfast
  3. Balmoral Show, Balmoral Park

The Committee undertook six overseas visits and one visit to the Republic of Ireland. The locations of these visits are as follows:

  1. London (Total Transport Conference)
  2. Dublin (Meeting with the Joint Committee on Transport and Communications on integrated transport)
  3. Glasgow (Meeting with Strathclyde Transport Partnership on integrated transport)
  4. Exeter (Meeting with Devon County Council)
  5. Cardiff (Meeting with Committee for Enterprise and Business, National Assembly for Wales and officials from the Welsh Government)
  6. Arnhem (Meeting with officials from Netherlands on integrated transport)
  7. Cardiff (Meeting with Managing Director of Welsh Water, Members of the Welsh Assembly and Chair of the Environment and Sustainability Committee)

Primary Legislation:

The Committee considered four written briefings on the Water and Sewerage Services (Amendment) Bill and took oral evidence from six organisations prior to producing its report in January 2013. The Committee made two recommendations, both of which were accepted by the Department. Click here to view the Committee Report.

Subordinate Legislation:

The Committee considered 100 proposals to make subordinate legislation and 18 Statutory Rules during this session and took oral evidence from Departmental Officials were appropriate. Although the Committee was content with the majority of the intended subordinate legislation, the Committee requested written briefings from the Department in relation to The Parking Places (Disabled Persons’ Vehicles) (Amendment No 7) Order (Northern Ireland) 2012 and The Rail Vehicles Accessibility (Application for Exemption Orders) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2013.

Inquiries:

Inquiry into the Better Use of Public and Community Sector Funds for the Delivery of Transport Options in Northern Ireland

The Committee agreed at its meeting on 23 May 2012, to commence its inquiry into The Better Use of Public and Community Sector Funds for the Delivery of Transport Options in Northern Ireland. The Committee wrote to a number of organisations, identified by Members, inviting them to make written submissions based on the terms of reference of the inquiry. Following consideration of the written submissions received, Members agreed to invite the following organisations to make oral presentations to the Committee:

  1. Department for Regional Development
  2. Department of Education
  3. Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety
  4. Community Transport Association
  5. Consumer Council for Northern Ireland
  6. Easilink Community Transport
  7. IMTAC
  8. North Coast Community Transport
  9. Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company/Translink

The Committee also undertook four study visits in the duration of the Inquiry. The relevant organisations visited were:

  • Total Transport Conference (London)
  • National Transport Association (Dublin)
  • Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (Glasgow)
  • National Assembly for Wales
  • Devon County Council
  • Reggio Taxi Gelderland (Arnhem)

The Committee considered and agreed its final report on 22 May 2013. Click here to view the Committee Report.

Inquiry into Comprehensive Transport Delivery Structures

The Committee agreed at its meeting on 7 November 2012, to commence its inquiry into Comprehensive Transport Delivery Structures. The Committee wrote to a number of organisations, identified by Members, inviting them to make written submissions based on the terms of reference of the inquiry. Following consideration of the written submissions received, Members agreed to invite the following organisations to make oral presentations to the Committee:

  1. Department for Regional Development
  2. Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company/Translink
  3. Community Transport Association
  4. Professor Austin Smyth
  5. Office of Fair Trading
  6. Consumer Council for Northern Ireland
  7. Transport Planning Society
  8. Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association
  9. Northern Ireland Transport Working Group
  10. Belfast Taxis Community Interest Group

The Committee intends to consider and agree its final report on 18 September 2013.

Budget Scrutiny:

During this session, the Committee received regular briefings on the Departmental monitoring rounds. An area of particular concern for the Committee was the A5 Road project and the transfer of funding from this major infrastructural project. The Committee subsequently received an oral briefing from the Minister in relation to this issue.

The Committee also raised concerns on the financial package for Park and Ride facilities and the purchase of new buses for Translink and received detailed written briefings on these. The Committee was also regularly updated on the Department’s Savings Delivery Plan.

Performance Scrutiny:

Throughout this session, the Committee received regular briefings on the Department’s performance against its Programme for Government targets.

Policy Scrutiny:

During this session the Committee considered a number of important policy areas, including Trans-European Networks Transport (TEN-T), Accessible Transport, Blue Badge Scheme and Road Racing Legislation.

Engagement:

Rathlin Island

On 26 September 2012, the Committee for Regional Development held its weekly meeting at the Richard Branson Centre, Rathlin Island.

The Committee received a briefing from Departmental officials on its October Monitoring Round. Members also considered a written briefing from the Department in relation to its Savings Delivery Plans.

At the conclusion of the meeting the Committee held an open session to engage with local residents. A number of issues were brought to Members’ attention including the road infrastructure on the island and funding for the island’s ferry service.

Adelaide Train Facility

On 12 December 2012, the Committee for Regional Development held its weekly meeting at the new Adelaide Train Maintenance Facility in Belfast. The meeting was held to coincide with the official opening of this NI Railways engineering depot.

As well as meeting the Minister for Regional Development and Translink officials, the Committee received a briefing from Departmental officials on its January Monitoring Round.

Members of the Committee for Regional Development at the opening of the Adelaide Train Maintenance Facility in Belfast

Balmoral Show

On 15 May 2013, the Committee for Regional Development held its weekly meeting at the Balmoral Show. The meeting took place on the opening day of the show, at its new venue at Balmoral Park, Lisburn.

The Committee received two briefings during the meeting, both providing an overview of individual rural transport issues. Members were briefed by Departmental officials on the Integrated Transport Pilot Scheme in the Dungannon area and then heard from the Ulster Farmers Union in relation to ongoing issues with the A5 Road project.

Committee for Regional Development meeting at the Balmoral Show

Committee for Regional Development meeting at the Balmoral Show

International Active Travel Conference

On 19 June 2013 the Committee for Regional Development participated in the Active Travel Conference in The Guildhall, Derry/Londonderry. The conference was chaired by the Committee Deputy Chairperson, Mr Sean Lynch, and focused on the following topics:

  • The behavioural changes needed to bring cycling into the mainstream
  • The success of Green Schools in Ireland
  • Route development and promotion in Derry/Londonderry
  • Implementing active travel on crowded road space and the political leadership needed
  • Overview of the Westminster All Party cycling inquiry

Members also took the opportunity to take part in a cycle across the Peace Bridge to see firsthand the active travel infrastructure in the city.

Members of the Committee for Regional Development during the International Active Travel Conference

Members of the Committee for Regional Development during the International Active Travel Conference

Committee Motions:

During this period the Committee for Regional Development tabled two motions for debate.

The first motion was on the Committee’s Inquiry into Unadopted Roads and a debate took place in the house on 4 December 2012. Click here to view the transcript.

The second motion was on the Committee’s Inquiry into the Better Use of Public and Community Sector Funds for the Delivery of Transport Options in Northern Ireland and a debate took place in the house on 2 nd July 2013. Click here to view the transcript.

Meetings Held:

During the period of this report the Committee for Regional Development held 31 meetings. Where possible meetings were held in public session but on 3 occasions it was necessary for the meeting to go into closed session, constituting 1.54% of meeting time.

Likely Key Priorities for the Next Session:

In the next session the Committee is likely to focus on scrutiny of the Road Races (Amendment) Bill. This legislation will provide promoters with flexibility to bring forward or defer two of their practice or race days for contingency planning.

Budget and saving delivery plans will continue to be a priority focus of the Committee, particularly in respect of Translink.

Members have also indicated a desire to undertake further work on a number of other issues including Belfast Rapid Transit, railway investment, active travel in Northern Ireland and the governance of NI Water.

ANNEX A

Committee for Regional Development

Expenditure for the period 1 September 2012 – 31 August 2013

Budget area

Details

Expenditure

Committee Travel - committee members and staff travel and subsistence in relation to visits and meetings outside Parliament Buildings

Includes the cost of committee visits to:

  • London
  • Dublin
  • Glasgow
  • Exeter
  • Arnhem
  • Cardiff (x2)

and 3 meetings held outside Parliament Buildings

£10,564.40

Printing of committee reports

Includes the cost of committee reports on:

  • Water and Sewerage (Amendment) Bill
  • Inquiry into Unadopted Roads in Northern Ireland
  • Inquiry into the better use of public and community sector funds for the delivery of bus transport in Northern Ireland
  • Inquiry into Comprehensive Transport Delivery Structures

£2,564.40

Advertising – the cost of public notices relating to committee inquiries, the committee stage of Bills and meetings held outside Parliament Buildings

Includes the cost of public notices in relation to:

  • Water and Sewerage (Amendment) Bill
  • Inquiry into Comprehensive Transport Delivery Structures

£1,235.60

Consultancy support - the cost of specialist advisers appointed by the committee and commissioned research, also the cost of drafting Standing Orders

Specialist adviser to the Committee

£0

General expenses

Cost of refreshments for committee meetings, working lunches, seminars, and room hire, and witness expenses, gifts provided by the committee during visits and conference fees for members.

£1,772.22

Total Expenditure

£16,136.62 

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