Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2006/2007

Date: 17 May 2007

COMMITTEE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT

Minutes of Proceedings

THURSDAY 17 MAY 2007,
Room 144, PARLIAMENT BUILDINGS

Present: 
Mr Patsy McGlone (Chairperson)
Mr Cathal Boylan (Deputy Chairperson)
Mr Billy Armstrong
Mr Trevor Clarke
Mr David Ford
Mr Tommy Gallagher
Mr Samuel Gardiner
Mr Alex Maskey
Mr Ian McCrea
Mr Daithí McKay
Mr Peter Weir

In Attendance: 
Mrs Debbie Pritchard (Principal Clerk)
Mrs Patricia Casey (Assembly Clerk) 
Mr William Long (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Mr Sean McCann (Clerical Supervisor)
Miss Pauline Devlin (Clerical Officer)
Mr Kendrew Colhoun (Assembly Research and Library Services)

The meeting opened at 10.30am in public session.

Agreed - Camera crews from UTV and BBC would be present when the Minister, Arlene Foster joins the meeting.

Agreed - Future meetings would be held in public session where possible.

  1. Apologies.

There were no apologies.

  1. Committee membership.

Members’ attention was drawn to the membership of the Committee for the Environment.

10.40am. Mr Maskey joined the meeting.

  1. Procedures.

The Chairperson introduced the Clerk, Patricia Casey and her administration team to the Members. Members’ attention was drawn to the contact details for the Committee for the Environment administration team.

Members’ noted guidance on:

    • Guide to the powers and operation of Statutory Committees for chairpersons and members
    • Guide to the role of the chairperson
    • Guide for members on the role and functions of the Committee Office
    • Guidance on the role of the Research Service

The Chairperson briefed the Members on the rules on privilege and sub-judice.

Mr Tony Marken, Senior Research Officer, briefed the Committee on the Research Service.

  1. Declaration of interests.

Agreed – An amended copy of the “Declaration of Interests” will be appended and accepted under the minutes of next weeks meeting.

  1. Subordinate Legislation.

Members noted the guidance on handling subordinate legislation.

The Clerk briefed members on the consideration of subordinate legislation.

Motion:

Agreed – The Committee for the Environment resolves, under Standing Order 41 to delegate to the Examiner of Statutory Rules the technical scrutiny of statutory rules referred to the Committee under the above mentioned Standing Order. The Committee further resolves that in carrying out this function the Examiner shall be authorised to report his technical findings on each statutory rule to the Assembly, through the Business Office, and to the relevant Department, as well as to the Committee itself and to publish his report.

  1. Forthcoming Executive Bills Table.

Members noted the table of potential Forthcoming Executive Bills, which may come before the Assembly.

  1. Introductory Briefing Paper on the Department of the Environment.

Members’ attention was drawn to the Introductory Briefing Paper on the Department of the Environment derived from the DOE website.

  1. Department of the Environment Committee Brief and Structure

10.50am. The Minister, Arlene Foster and Permanent Secretary, Stephen Peover, joined the meeting.

Members’ attention was drawn to the Department of the Environment Committee Brief and structure outlining the key issues facing the Department.

The Chairperson introduced the Minister, Arlene Foster, and the Permanent Secretary, Stephen Peover and welcomed them to the Committee Meeting.

The Minister addressed the Committee on the key priorities of the Department including:

  • Local Government Reform
  • Road Safety
  • Environmental Protection
  • Environmental Governance
  • Planning

The Permanent Secretary gave an overview briefing of the Department.

The Minister and Permanent Secretary answered questions by the Members.

12.10pm. The Minister and Permanent Secretary left the meeting.

12.10pm. Trevor Clarke left the meeting.

  1. SL1 – Proposed Special Protection Order for the Irish Hare

Members’ attention was drawn to the proposal by the Department to make a statutory rule under powers conferred under the Game Preservation Act ( Northern Ireland) 1928.

Agreed – To seek clarification from the Department on why the proposed legislation does not cover the “possession” of Irish Hares and clarification on the number of objections received on the protection order.

Agreed – To clarify if other legislatures in Scotland and the Republic of Ireland have similar legislation in place on the protection of hares.

  1. Bill Office – Presentation on Legislation

Martin Wilson, Bill Office, gave a presentation on the Legislative Process in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Agreed – The Committee should consider, for information purposes, any previous Bills, consideration of which was ongoing at the end of the previous mandate (October 2002).

  1. Committee on the Programme for Government – extract from Report on Review of Public Administration and Rural Planning.
  • Members’ attention was drawn to the Executive Summary and Conclusions from the
  • “Report on Review of Public Administration”.
  1. Correspondence.

The Committee noted the following items of correspondence:

A. Letter from Tony Donnelly, Principle Planning Officer

B. Invitation to launch of report

C. Copy of letter from Edward Cooke to Chief Executive, Rates Collection Agency

D. E-mail from Wesley Aston, Ulster Farmers’ Union

E. Letter from Residents’ Association of Cherryvalley, Kensington & Shandon

Agreed – To send a copy to the Department for comment

F. E-mail from Michael McGuckin, Cookstown District Council

Agreed – To send a copy to the Department for comment

G. Letter from Edward Cooke re Domestic Housing

Agreed – To send a copy to the Department for comment

H. Letter from Glenarm Village Committee and copy of letter to Billy McCabe, Planning Service Headquarters.

Agreed – To send a copy to the Department for comment

I. Letter from Campbell Malseed re planning application Z/2006/2349/F

Agreed – To consider at next week’s meeting when Departmental Officials will be in attendance

J. Letter from Children in Northern Ireland (CINI)

Agreed – To issue a thank you letter to CINI

  1. Pre Restoration Meetings.

The Chairperson briefed the Committee on a pre restoration meeting with the Minister on 30 April 2007 and advised Members that the Minister has proposed a regular monthly meeting with the Chairperson and the Deputy Chairperson.

Agreed – The Chairperson will provide an update on future monthly meetings with the Minister, to be attended by the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson.

  1. Draft Forward Work Programme/schedule of meetings.

Members’ attention was drawn to the framework of a draft Forward Work Programme and schedule of meetings.

Agreed – The Members agreed to initially consider what will be included in the Forward Work Programme at their third meeting.

  1. Draft Press Release.

Members’ attention was drawn to a draft press release.

Agreed – The Members agreed to delegate the draft issue of a press release to the Chairperson (a copy to be forwarded to each Member).

  1. Any Other business.

Agreed – The Members agreed to consider SL1 on Clean Air at a later meeting.

  1. Date, time and place of next meeting.

The next meeting will be held on Thursday, 24 May 2007 at 10.30am in Room 144 Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.45pm.

Patsy McGlone
Chairperson, Committee for the Environment.
24 May 2007

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