Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2006/2007

Date: 28 June 2007

COMMITTEE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT

MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS

THURSDAY 28 JUNE 2007,
ROOM 144, PARLIAMENT BUILDINGS

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

In Attendance: Mrs Debbie Pritchard (Principal Clerk)
Ms 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 Tommy Gallagher
Mr Samuel Gardiner
Mr Alex Maskey

The meeting opened at 10.33am in public session.

1. Apologies

Apologies are detailed above.

The Chairperson extended the Committee’s sympathies to Mr Gallagher following the recent death of his brother.

2. Minutes

Agreed – the draft minutes were agreed.

3. Matters arising

10.38am. Mr Armstrong joined the meeting.

Members noted the response from the Committee for Regional Development on the review of PPS 12.

4. Taxis Bill – Committee Stage

The Chairperson confirmed that Members had no interest to declare.

Alan Rehfisch, Researcher, provided the Members with a brief introduction to the regulation of taxis currently in operation in Northern Ireland.

Adele Watters, Road Safety Division, briefed the Members on the provisions of the Taxis Bill.

Ms Watters and Bill Laverty, Departmental official, answered questions from the Members.

5. Proposals for Secondary Legislation

Chris Savage, Departmental official, briefed the Members on SL1 - The Conservation (Natural Habitats, etc) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2007.
Mr Savage and Ms Amanda Lennon, Departmental official, answered questions from the Members.

Agreed – The Committee for the Environment considered The Conservation (Natural Habitats, etc) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2007 and has no objections to the proposal.

SL1 – Proposed regulations making domestic legislative changes to comply with the requirements of the 5th Motor Insurance Directive (2005/14/EC).

Agreed – The Committee for the Environment considered the regulations making domestic legislative changes to comply with the requirements of the 5th Motor Insurance Directive (2005/14/EC) and has no objections to the proposal.

Brian Morrison, Departmental official, briefed the Members on the SL1 - Increase to the number of multiple-choice questions for the driver theory test and associated fees.

Mr Morrison and Ms Bernie Rooney, Departmental official, answered questions from the Members.

Agreed – The Committee for the Environment considered the Increase to the number of multiple-choice questions for the driver theory test and associated fees and has no objections to the proposal.

SL1 – Fixed Penalty Order – Article 59(a) of the Road Traffic Offenders (Northern Ireland) Order 1996.

Agreed – The Committee for the Environment considered the Fixed Penalty Order – Article 59(a) of the Road Traffic Offenders (Northern Ireland) Order 1996 and has no objections to the proposal.

6. Sustainable Development

Wesley Shannon, Departmental official, briefed the Members on Sustainable Development.

Mr Shannon, Mr Mike Meharg and Mr Tim Irwin, Departmental officials, answered questions on Sustainable Development.

12.15pm. Mr Ford joined the meeting.
12.17pm. Mr McGlone left the meeting and was replaced as Chairperson by Mr Boylan. 
12.20pm. Mr McCrea left the meeting.
12.25pm. Mr McGlone rejoined the meeting.

7. Correspondence

1. Copy of letter from Edward Cooke to Alan Bronte, Land and Property Services, re: the domestic rating system in NI.

Agreed – The Committee noted this piece of correspondence.

2. Letter from Mourne Heritage Trust requesting meeting re: proposed Mourne National Park.

Agreed – The Committee noted this piece of correspondence.

3. Letter from Una Downey re: correspondence from Mrs Maureen McAuley concerning the planning application for the extension of quarrying at Parishagh Quarry. A copy of Ms McAuley’s original letter is included.

Agreed – Committee to forward a copy of the Department’s reply to Ms McAuley.

4. Letter from the Department re: request from Cherryvalley, Kensington and Shandon Residents Association to meet with the Chairperson.

Agreed – Committee to forward a copy of the Department’s reply to Nuala McKinney.

5. Letter from the Department in response to previous correspondence from Edward Cooke concerning the domestic housing sector in Northern Ireland. A copy of the correspondence from Mr Cooke to which the letter refers is attached.

Agreed – Committee to forward a copy of the Department’s reply to Mr Cooke.

6. Letter from the Department re: the Review of Revised Council Consultation Arrangements. A copy of the original correspondence from Michael McGuickin is included.

Agreed – Committee to forward a copy of the Department’s reply to Michael McGuickin. Committee to write to Department requesting that the consultants seek the views of the Committee.

7. Letter from the Department re: request for further information on what initiatives are available for the private sector to engage with the public sector in area of waste management.

Agreed – The Committee noted this piece of correspondence.

8. Letter from the Department re: request for further information in relation to the number of mobile phone related road accidents resulting in death and serious injury.

Agreed – The Committee noted this piece of correspondence.

9. Letter from the Department and attached circular re: emergency financial assistance to councils following the recent flooding.

Agreed – The Committee noted this piece of correspondence.

10. Letter from the Department re: request for further information on Areas of Special Scientific Interest.

Agreed – The Committee noted this piece of correspondence.

11. Letter from Minister Arlene Foster and enclosed copy of ‘Foundations of the Future’, the final report of the independent review of Environmental Governance in Northern Ireland. Members can view a copy of this report in Room 247.

Agreed – The Committee noted this piece of correspondence.

12. Email from Declan Allison urging members to support the Climate Change Bill. The same email was also sent by Niall Bakewell, Ryan Concannon, Emma Hamilton, Gareth Moore and Peter McEldowney.

Agreed – The Committee noted this piece of correspondence.

13. Letter from the Department providing information in response to previous correspondence by Danny Kinahan regarding development at Dunadry. A copy of the original correspondence is included.

Agreed – Committee to forward a copy of the Department’s reply to Mr Kinahan.

14. Letter from the Committee of the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister outlining emerging priorities for the Executive’s Programme for Government.

Agreed – The Committee noted this piece of correspondence.

15. Letter from the Environment and Heritage Service and enclosed publication ‘Water Matters.’

Agreed – The Committee noted this piece of correspondence.

16. Letter from the Committee for Regional Development re: review of PPS 12 and Town Cramming. Also copy of letter from Committee of Regional Development to the Clerk to the Committee for Social Development.

Agreed – Committee Clerk to liaise with DRD Committee Clerk to adopt common approach on consulting with wider community.

Publications/Conferences/Press Releases:

17. DOE press release – Foster Announces new Waste Laws - noted by Committee

18. DOE Press Release – Rare Mussel Discovered Off Rathlin Island – noted by Committee.

Also received and noted by Committee:

  • Journal from the Community Relations Council entitled ‘Shared Space: A research journal on peace, conflict and community relations in Northern Ireland.’ Members can obtain a copy of this journal by contacting the committee office.
  • Journal entitled ‘An Alternative Energy Policy for Ireland: The Professionals View of the Energy Debate’ published by UNITE and Amicus unions. Sender unknown. Members can obtain a copy of this journal by contacting the committee office.

8. Any other business

The Chairperson briefed the Members on the forthcoming Christian Aid Banner Launch on 05 July 2007 and encouraged Members to attend.

Agreed – Committee to provide copy of Budget briefing to RSPB and NIEL.

Agreed – Committee to issue Press Release on Taxis Bill.

9. Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting will be held on Thursday, 05 July 2007 at 10.30am in Room 144 Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.45pm.

Patsy McGlone
Chairperson, Committee for the Environment.
28 June 2007

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