Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2006/2007

Date: 31 May 2007

COMMITTEE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT

MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS

THURSDAY 31 MAY 2007,
Room 144, PARLIAMENT BUILDINGS

Present: 
Mr Patsy McGlone (Chairperson)
Mr Cathal Boylan (Deputy Chairperson)
Mr Billy Armstrong
Mr Trevor Clarke
Mr Tommy Gallagher
Mr Ian McCrea
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)

Apologies: 
Mr David Ford
Mr Samuel Gardiner
Mr Alex Maskey
Mr Daithí McKay

The meeting opened at 10.33am in public session.

The Chairperson informed the Members that Mr Ford’s mother had recently passed away.

Agreed – The Chairperson to write to Mr Ford expressing condolences on behalf of the Members.

  1. Apologies

Apologies are detailed above.

  1. Minutes

Agreed – the draft minutes were agreed.

  1. Matters arising

Members noted the briefing on 3 Bills which were under scrutiny by the previous Environment Committee when it went into suspension on 14 October 2002.

  1. Taxis Bill

Ms Adele Watters (Road Safety Division) briefed the Committee on the 2005 policy consultation document.

Ms Adele Watters and Bill Laverty (Road Safety Division) answered questions from the Members.

11.13am. Mr Billy Armstrong joined the meeting.

  1. Proposal for Secondary Legislation – SL1 on Irish Hare

Members’ attention was drawn to the SL1 on the proposed Special Protection Order for the Irish Hare. Members’ attention was also drawn to a briefing from the Research Service and a response from the Department to questions raised by the Committee.

11.28am. Mr Peter Weir joined the meeting.

Mike Meharg (Departmental Official) answered questions from the Members.

Agreed – To seek clarification from the Department on the estimated total costs arising from the Irish Hares Species Action Plan 2000 - 2010.

  1. Proposal for Secondary Legislation – SL1 on Smoke Control Regulations

Members’ attention was drawn to the SL1 on Clean Air and a copy of the proposed regulations along with an explanatory briefing from the Department.

Agreed – To seek clarification from the Department on the responsibility on the powers of enforcement for Smoke Control Areas (Exempted Fireplaces)(Amendment) Regulations ( Northern Ireland) 2007.

  1. Department of the Environment briefing on Environment & Heritage Service

Mr Paul Simpson, Planning & Environmental Policy Group briefed the Members on Planning & Environmental Policy.

Mr Richard Rogers, Chief Executive, Environment & Heritage Service briefed the Members on the Environment & Heritage Service.

Mr Stephen Peover advised Members that there would be an in-year Local Government Review.

  1. Department of the Environment briefing on Local Government

Mr Paul Simpson, Deputy Secretary, Planning & Environmental Policy Group briefed the Members on Local Government.

Agreed – To request information from the Department on what initiatives are available for the private sector to engage with the public sector in the areas of waste management and recycling.

12.46pm. Mr McGlone left the meeting. Mr Boylan (Deputy Chairperson) temporarily took the Chair.

12.49pm. Mr McGlone rejoined the meeting.

  1. Update briefing by David Ferguson, Chief Executive, Planning Service

Mr David Ferguson, Chief Executive, Planning Service updated the Members on the issue of delay in a planning application as highlighted by the letter from Campbell Malseed. Mr Ferguson also briefed the members on the issues arising from the letter sent to Patsy McGlone MLA by Under Secretary David Cairns regarding PPS14. Mr Ferguson and Ann Garvey, Director of Operations answered questions from the Members.

Agreed – To seek clarification from Department on how the application of PPS 14 in relation to applications for single dwellings from persons with a disability take into account provisions of Section 75 of the NI Act 1998.

  1. Department of the Environment Forward Work Programme

Members’ attention was drawn to the Department of the Environment’s Forward Work Programme which will be considered at the meeting of the Committee for the Environment on 07 June 2007.

  1. Committee Framework Forward Work Programme

Members’ attention was drawn to the framework for a Committee Forward Work Programme which will be considered at the meeting of the Committee for the Environment on 07 June 2007.

  1. Correspondence

The Committee noted the following items of correspondence:

A. Letter from Valerie Hanna, chairperson of Mourne, Sleive Croob & South Down Residents Action Group requesting an opportunity to address the committee with regard to the National Park debate.

Agreed – Advise Action Group that Committee are not currently considering this issue but that it maybe considered in the future.

B. Letter from RSPB highlighting the issue of Site Designation in Northern Ireland (with an attached briefing outlining the history of the ASSI programme in Northern Ireland)

C. Letter from The Waste Recycle Company re increased recycling.

D. Letter from Campbell Malseed re Planning Application Z/2006/2349/F. A copy of a letter to Arlene Foster, Minister for the Environment re Planning Application Z/2006/2349/F was also enclosed.

Agreed – Mr Malseed to be advised that Committee have passed his concerns to the Department and that his application was currently being processed.

  1. Any other business

There was no other business.

  1. Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting will be held on Thursday, 07 June 2007 at 10.30am in Room 144 Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 13.20 pm.

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

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