Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2006/2007

Date: 21 June 2007

COMMITTEE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT

MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS

THURSDAY 21 JUNE 2007,
Room 144, PARLIAMENT BUILDINGS

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

In Attendance: 
Mrs Patricia Casey (Assembly Clerk) 
Mr William Long (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Mr Sean McCann (Clerical Supervisor)
Miss Pauline Devlin (Clerical Officer)

Apologies: 
Mr Trevor Clarke
Mr Alex Maskey

The meeting opened at 10.34am in public session.

  1. Apologies

Apologies are detailed above.

  1. Minutes

Agreed – the draft minutes were agreed subject to minor amendment.

  1. Matters arising

10.36am. Mr Gallagher joined the meeting.

Agreed - The draft Committee response on the Initial Input to the Programme for Government was agreed subject to minor amendments.

  1. Taxis Bill

The Chairperson briefed Members on a protest by taxi drivers that occurred last year.

Agreed – The Members were content with the general principles of the Taxis Bill.

  1. Proposals for Secondary Legislation

SL1 – Draft Local Government Pension Scheme (Amendment No 2) Regulations ( Northern Ireland) 2007

Draft Statutory Rule and Explanatory Memorandum (covering letter)

Agreed – The Committee for the Environment considered Draft Local Government Pension Scheme (Amendment No. 2) Regulations ( Northern Ireland) 2007 and has no objection to the proposal.

SL1 – Road Transport (Working Time) Regulations ( Northern Ireland) 2005

Agreed – The Committee for the Environment considered Road Transport (Working Time) Regulations ( Northern Ireland) 2005 and has no objection to the proposal.

SL1 – European Regulation (EC) No. 561/2006 on Drivers’ Hours

Agreed – The Committee for the Environment considered European Regulations (EC) No. 561/2006 on Drivers’ Hours and has no objection to the proposal.

SL1 – Increase to the number of multiple-choice questions for the driver theory test and associated fees

Agreed – Committee to seek further clarification re the content of the extra questions and reasoning behind the increase in fees.

SL1 – Motor Vehicles (construction and Use) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1999

(To transpose EC Directives on Heavy Duty Vehicle Emissions)

Agreed – The Committee for the Environment considered Motor Vehicle (Construction and Use) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1999 and has no objection to the proposal.

SL1 – The Conservation (Natural Habitats, etc)(Amendment) Regulations 2007

Agreed – Request that Department brief Committee on the proposed Statutory Rule.

SL1 – Fixed Penalty Order – Article 57 (2) of the Road Traffic Offenders (NI) Order 1996 (specification of road traffic offences as fixed penalty offences)

Agreed – The Committee for the Environment considered the Fixed Penalty Order - Article 57(2) of the Road Traffic Offenders (Northern Ireland) Order 1996 and has no objection to the proposal.

SL1 – Fixed Penalty Order – Article 59 (a) of the Road Traffic Offenders (NI) Order 1996 (level of fixed penalties)

Agreed – Request breakdown of existing fees from Department and details of the offences that do not attract penalty points.

SL1 – Proposed fee increases by DVA in respect of Road Freight and Passenger Operators

Agreed – Request details from Department on the extent of the increases.

Commencement of Selected Provisions of the Waste (Amended) (Northern Ireland) Order 2007

Agreed – The Committee noted the Commencement of Selected Provisions of the Waste (Amended)(Northern Ireland) Order 2007.

  1. Planning processes and policies

Peter Mullaney, Simon Kirk and John Linden, Departmental Officials, answered questions on planning process and policies, and the briefing paper provided to Members..

Mr Mullaney advised that he would arrange for Planning Service Information Leaflet No. 7 and a copy of PPS 15 to be circulated to Members.

  1. Budget

Patrick Anderson, Director of Corporate Services briefed the Members on the budget from the Department.

Mr Anderson and Mr Peter Aiken, Central Finance Branch, answered questions from the Members.

Agreed – The Committee to request further information on specific aspects of the budget.

12.25pm. Mr McCrea left the meeting.

  1. Correspondence

Mr Gardiner declared an interest in Craigavon Borough Council.

The Committee noted the following items of correspondence:

Copy of Response from Strangford Lough Stakeholders – Marine Bill Consultation.

2. E-mail from Cliodhna Rae, Portstewart Community Vision, requesting the opportunity to make a presentation to the Committee to ask for support in seeking fiscal solutions to protect permanent communities.

Agreed – Committee to discuss further after consideration of response due from DRD.

Letter from Una Downey (DALO) in response to a query from Mr Gallagher, regarding the sourcing of food for use in local hospitals.

Agreed – Copy of response to be copied to Trusts.

Copy of letter from Larne Promenade Action Group to the Environment Minister, Arlene Foster, re Planning Application F/1999/0465/O. Also included is an invitation for the Chairperson and Members to visit the Promenade and discuss the concerns of the Group.

Agreed – Committee to discuss further after consideration of response due from DRD.

Letter from Una Downey (DALO) re: legitimacy of expenditure by Craigavon Borough Council on a grievance procedure against the Chief Executive.

Copy of letter from “UNITE the Union” requesting the right to address the Committee on the issue of Taxis Order. Attached copy of their response to the Taxis Order Bill.

Agreed – Advise UNITE that they will have the opportunity to provide evidence after the Public Notice has been issued.

E-mail from Seamus Gallagher, NI Environment Link, with attached responses from Climate Change Coalition (NI) and NIEL to the Climate Change Bill.

Letter from Paul Carlisle, Clerk to the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development, re proposed Mourne National Park.

Agreed - The Committee to keep the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development informed of any consideration by the Committee on the proposed Mourne National Park.

Letter from UFU requesting opportunity to provide presentation to the Environment Committee on environmental issues which impact on agriculture.

Agreed – Advise UFU that they will have the opportunity to provide evidence after the Public Notice has been issued and that they can write to the Committee if they have issues before the end of recess.

Letter from Samuel Egerton requesting an opportunity to give evidence to the Committee when they discuss the proposed Taxis Bill.

Agreed – Advise Mr Egerton that he will have the opportunity to provide evidence after the Public Notice has been issued.

Letter from Arlene Foster, Minister of the Environment, requesting the Committee’s views on the proposed review of the local government aspects of RPA and the Terms of Reference.

Agreed - Advise Minister that the Committee are content with the Terms of Reference of the proposed review. The Committee agreed to discuss methods of engagement in the process with the Minister, at the Committee meeting on 05 July 2007.

Publications/Conferences/Press Releases:

Copy of Press Release by Department for the Environment – “Arlene Foster and Seatbelt Sheriff swear in new deputies”.

Copy of Press Release by RTBI/RSPB – “RTPI/RSPB Northern Ireland join forces to announce Sustainable Planning Award 2007/08”.

Copy of Press Release by Department for the Environment – “ Arlene Foster announces Environmental Management Survey results.

Copy of Press Release by Department for the Environment – “Statutory Protection for Irish Hare”

Copy of Press Release by Department for the Environment – “Foster to spearhead clean up campaign”.

17. Copy of Press Release by Department for the Environment – “Flooding Funds”.

Letter from Coalition for Environmental Protection requesting that Committee Members meet with a deputation from the Coalition

Agreed – Committee to advise Coalition re Members availability to meet them on steps of Stormont before meeting on 28 June 2007.

Letter from CEF requesting a meeting with Committee.

Agreed – Advise CEF that Committee will liaise re a possible meeting after recess.

  1. Any other business

Agreed – The Committee to invite Environmental Governance officials to its meeting on 05 July 2007.

  1. Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting will be held on Thursday, 28 June 2007 at 10.30am in Room 144 Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 13.16pm.

Patsy McGlone

Chairperson, Committee for the Environment.

21 June 2007

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