Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2008/2009

Date: 14 May 2009

COMMITTEE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT

MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS
THURSDAY 14 MAY 2009,
SENATE CHAMBER, PARLIAMENT BUILDINGS

Present: 
Mr Cathal Boylan (Deputy Chairperson)
Mr David Ford
Mr Tommy Gallagher
Mr David McClarty
Mr Ian McCrea
Mr Daithi McKay
Mr Patsy McGlone (Chairperson)
Mr Alastair Ross
Mr Peter Weir

In Attendance:
Dr Alex McGarel (Assembly Clerk) 
Mr William Long (Assistant Clerk)
Mr Sean McCann (Clerical Supervisor)
Mr Steven Mealey (Clerical Officer)

Apologies:
Mr Roy Beggs
Mr Trevor Clarke

The meeting began in public session at 10.40a.m.

1. Apologies

Apologies are detailed above.

2. Minutes

Agreed – the draft minutes of the meeting on 7 May were agreed.

3. Matters Arising

Copy of briefing to Committee for Enterprise, Trade & Investment regarding North South Interconnector:

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a copy of the briefing paper from the Department for Enterprise, Trade and Investment in relation to the North South Interconnector. 
Agreed: That Committee staff request a copy of the transcript from this meeting and that this is forwarded to all interested parties.

Correspondence from John McMullan, Chief Executive, Bryson Charitable Group regarding ‘Sort it Out’ Schools Programme:

The Chairperson informed members that John McMullan, Chief Executive of the Bryson Charitable Group had written to the Committee regarding the ‘Sort it Out’ Schools Programme.
Agreed: That Bryson Charitable Group is invited to a future Committee meeting to discuss this issue.

4. Correspondence
  1. Members noted an e-mail from Tom Wilson, Freight Transport Association referring to Correspondence dated 27 April submitted jointly by the RHA and FTA regarding the Goods Vehicles (Licensing of Operators) Bill .
  2. Memo from the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure regarding the responses from local councils outlining actions they are taking to promote the use of townland names. 
    Agreed: That a copy of the responses is sent to the DOE.
  3. Members noted a memo from the Clerk, Committee for Finance and Personnel to all Committee Clerks regarding the comments on the need for a cross-cutting approach to monitoring the implementation of the positive elements of Sir David Varney’s second report on the Review of the Competitiveness of Northern Ireland.
  4. Departmental response regarding the implementation of international financial reporting standards. 
    Agreed: That Departmental officials are invited to a future meeting to brief the Committee on this issue and that the DOE is asked for further information as to how the implementation of international financial reporting standards impacts on them.
  5. Departmental response to correspondence from Raymond Black, SRB & Co regarding draft Planning Policy Statement 21: Sustainable Development in the Countryside, Policy CTY 8 – Section 5.35. 
    Agreed: That a copy of the response is forwarded to Mr Black.
  6. Departmental response following the Committee’s request for comments on a further letter from the Antrim & District Angling Club regarding a development at Dunadry, Co Antrim. 
    Agreed: That a copy of the response is forwarded to Antrim & District Angling Club.
  7. Members noted a letter from Seamus òg Gallagher, Senior Policy Officer, NI Environmental Link regarding Planning Policy Statement 21: Sustainable Development in the Countryside.
  8. Members noted a letter from the Department regarding the UK’s High Level Marine Objectives (HLMOs).
  9. E-mail from Vanessa Ledgewood regarding her website Road Angels Legacy.com. 
    Agreed: That a copy of the e-mail is forwarded to the Road Safety Division of DOE and that Ms Ledgewood is contacted regarding the status of the website.
  10. Members noted a Departmental response to a Mr Woods letter of 1 st April to Minister regarding the proposals for reform of the planning system.
  11. Members noted a letter from the Road Safety Council of Northern Ireland to Chairperson thanking the Committee for the opportunity to meet and state their case regarding DOE funding.
  12. Response from the Department of Finance and Personnel regarding the briefing by Chris Tuppen, BT Chief Sustainability Officer. 
    Agreed: That a copy of the response is forwarded to Grainne Brown, BT.
  13. Members noted a Departmental response to the Committee’s request to be kept up to date on the demolition of a building in a protected area in Newcastle, Co. Down.
  14. Response from the Department of Education regarding the briefing by Chris Tuppen, BT Chief Sustainability Officer. 
    Agreed: That a copy of the response is forwarded to Grainne Brown, BT.
  15. Letter from the NI Marine Task Force requesting a meeting with the Committee to discuss concerns over the progression of the Northern Ireland Marine Bill. 
    Agreed: That NIMTF representatives are invited to brief the Committee at a future meeting.
  16. Letter from ASITIS consulting inviting Mr Ian McCrea MLA and the Chairperson to a seminar on 27 th May 2009 being held at Keystone Lintels factory, Ballyreagh industrial Estate, Cookstown. 
    Agreed: That a copy of the letter is forwarded to the Department for information.
  17. Members noted a letter from Northern Ireland Freshwater Taskforce requesting the opportunity to present WWF’s RIPPLE project as an example of best practice in community led river basin management.
  18. Members noted the following DOE Press Releases / Publications: 
    “Road safety campaign changes focus with eyewitness account.”
    “ Roe Valley Country Park invites public to a wonderful dawn chorus.” 
    “Equality Focus Newsletter – May 2009.” 
    “2008 Quarry Products Association (QPA) Sustainable Development Report” 
    “A Sustainable New Deal” 
    “Prosperity without Growth” 
    Advice matters spring 2009
5. Statutory Rules

S.R. 2009/168 – The Environmental Protection (Restriction of Use of Lead Shot) Regulations (NI) 2009

Question put and agreed:

That the Committee for the Environment has considered S.R. 2009/168 – The Environmental Protection (Restriction of Use of Lead Shot) Regulations (NI) 2009 and has no objection to the rule.

S.R. 2009/178 – The Waste Management Strategy Regulations (NI) 2009

Question put and agreed:

That the Committee for the Environment has considered S.R. 2009/178 – The Waste Management Strategy Regulations (NI) 2009 and has no objection to the rule.

Members noted the fifteenth report of the Examiner of Statutory Rules.

6. Forward Work Programme

Members noted the updated Committee Forward Work Programme.

The Chairperson asked members to inform Committee staff of their availability for the meeting in the Causeway Hotel on 28 May.

7. Departmental briefing on PPS 21 consultation/public meetings

Mr Ford joined the meeting at 10.58a.m.

DOE officials briefed the Committee and answered members’ questions on the Department’s consultation and public meetings on PPS21.

Agreed: That the DOE forwards a copy of their briefing from this meeting to the Environment Committee sub group on PPS21 for information.

8. Inquiry into Climate Change update

The Chairperson informed members that the Committee had received a letter from Glyn Roberts, Chief Executive - Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association (NIIRTA) requesting the opportunity to provide oral evidence at the Committee’s Inquiry into Climate Change.

Agreed: That NIIRTA representatives are invited to brief the Committee at the meeting on 21 May.

Agreed: That letters are sent to those organisations not called to give oral evidence outlining the rationale behind the decision.

The Chairperson informed members that they had also been provided with a copy of a submission from The Carbon Trust to the Committee’s Inquiry into Climate Change. Geoff Smyth, Manager of the Carbon Trust in Northern Ireland has indicated that this submission was forwarded to the Committee’s public e-mail folder on 20 February 2009. This submission never reached the Committee’s public-mail folder, probably due to faults with the Assembly’s e-mailing system in February.

Agreed: That Carbon Trust representatives are invited to brief the Committee at a future meeting.

The Chairperson informed members that Kevin Taylor had contacted the Committee to request that it withdraws all the documentation he forwarded in respect of the Inquiry following a telephone conversation with the Committee Clerk on 5 May 2009.

Mr McKay joined the meeting at 11.28a.m.

Agreed: That Mr Taylor’s submission is withdrawn and all documentation returned to him.

The Chairperson reminded members that the Committee had requested two items of research in relation to its Inquiry and that they had been provided with a research paper entitled ‘Likely impacts of climate change in Northern Ireland’ for information. A further research paper on ‘current policy frameworks being taken across all Departments in Northern Ireland to mitigate and adapt to climate change’ will also be provided in due course.

Agreed: That these Research papers are published on the Assembly website.

9. Climate Change Inquiry - Oral Evidence from Confederation of British Industry (CBI)

Representatives from the CBI briefed the Committee and answered members’ questions on climate change. The main areas of discussion were decentralisation of public sector jobs, transportation, opportunities for businesses through a low carbon future, climate change targets, renewables, a carbon neutral government estate and incentives for the private sector.

Mr Gallagher left the meeting at 11.50a.m.

Agreed: That CBI provides the Committee with details of their forthcoming seminar on climate change.

Mr Weir left the meeting at 12.03p.m. 
Mr McClarty left the meeting at 12.03p.m.

10. Climate Change Inquiry – Oral Evidence from Energy Saving Trust NI

Representatives from the Energy Saving Trust NI briefed the Committee and answered members’ questions on climate change.

The main areas of discussion were incentives for individuals, the link between energy efficiency and climate change and housing policy.

Agreed: That the Energy Saving Trust provides the Committee with

11. Climate Change Inquiry - Oral Evidence from British Wind Energy Association (BWEA)/Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA)

Representatives from BWEA/IWEA briefed the Committee and answered members’ questions on climate change.

Mr Gallagher left the meeting at 1.02pm.

The main areas of discussion were PPS18, working with communities, working relationships with DOE, Republic of Ireland policy on wind energy and targets.

The Chairperson suspended the meeting at 1.10p.m. for lunch.

The meeting resumed at 1.55p.m with the following members present: Mr McGlone, Mr Boylan, Mr Ford, Mr McCrea, Mr Ross.

12. Climate Change Inquiry - Oral Evidence from Institute of Highways and Transportation (IHT)

Representatives from the IHT briefed the Committee and answered members’ questions on climate change.

The main areas of discussion were the road transport strategy, road charging schemes, parking levies, public transport, broadband and working from home.

Agreed: That IHT provides the Committee with further information on the fuel efficiency of Translink’s new fleet of buses.

13. Climate Change Inquiry - Oral Evidence from Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)

Representatives from the RICS briefed the Committee and answered members’ questions on climate change.

The main areas of discussion were building regulations, incentives, funding, building stock and the possibility of transporting freight by rail.

Agreed: That RICS provides the Committee with their paper on inter governmental working.

14. Climate Change Inquiry – Oral Evidence from Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI)

Representatives from the RTPI briefed the Committee and answered members’ questions on climate change.

The main areas of discussion were spatial approach and planners’ expertise on climate changes.

15. Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting will be held on Thursday, 21 May 2009 at 10.30am in Room 144, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 3.36p.m.

Patsy McGlone
Chairperson, Committee for the Environment
21 May 2009

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