Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2008/2009

Date: 19 February 2009



Mr Roy Beggs
Mr Cathal Boylan
Mr Trevor Clarke
Mr David Ford
Mr Ian McCrea

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

Mr Patsy McGlone (Chairperson)
Mr Tommy Gallagher
Mr Daithi McKay
Mr Alastair Ross
Mr Peter Weir

The meeting began in public session at 10.55a.m. with Mr Boylan in the Chair.

1. Apologies

Apologies are detailed above.

2. Minutes

Agreed – the draft minutes of the meeting on 12 February were agreed subject to minor amendments.

3. Matters Arising

Briefing by the Minister:

The Chairperson informed members that the Minister had offered to brief members at the meeting on 26 February and had agreed to a one and a half hour time slot.

Agreed: That the meeting takes place in the Senate Chamber.

Executive Response to the Barroso Taskforce Report:

The Chairperson informed members that at the meeting on 5 February they were invited by the Committee for the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister to consider the Executive’s response to the Barroso Taskforce Report.

Agreed: That the Committee response is issued.

North South Interconnector:

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with an indication of how the issue of the proposed North South Interconnector was being dealt with by the Oireachtas.

Agreed: That Committee staff establish indicative costs of bringing the author of the report to brief members before a decision is made at a future meeting.

4. RSPB Briefing on the Review of the Wildlife Order (NI) 1985

Mr Beggs declared an interest as an agricultural landholder.

RSPB officials briefed the Committee and answered members’ questions on the Review of the Wildlife Order (NI) 1985.

The main area of discussion were the RSPB’s level of engagement with the DOE, views on the maximum level of penalties for wildlife crime, comparison between Northern Ireland legislation and the rest of the UK, the amount of successful prosecutions for wildlife crime, protection for nesting sites outside of the breeding season and the RSPB’s relationship with the Forest Service.

Agreed: That the Committee send a letter to the Secretary of State supporting custodial sentences for wildlife crime.

5. Forest Service Briefing

Mr McCrea declared an interest as a member of Cookstown District Council.

Forest Service officials briefed the Committee and answered members’ questions on the work of the Forest Service.

The main areas of discussion were timber production and biomass, the management of tree maturity, the potential for tourist activities in the forest parks and the Forest Service’s relationship with local councils.

6. SR 2009/17 – The Planning (Control of Advertisements) (Amendment) Regulations (NI) 2009

SR 2009/17 – The Planning (Control of Advertisements) (Amendment) Regulations (NI) 2009

Members deliberated over the rule and concern was expressed at the possibility of the rule providing a blanket exemption.

Question put and agreed:

That the Committee for the Environment has considered SR 2009/17 – The Planning (Control of Advertisements) (Amendment) Regulations (NI) 2009 and has no objection to the rule.

Mr Beggs was opposed to the Rule.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to Planning Service to ask that they take Clause 6(a) seriously.

7. Committee Climate Change Inquiry

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with copies of 4 submissions for the Committee Climate Change Inquiry. Members noted the submissions.

9. Departmental Consultations

The Committee considered the following consultations: -

Consultation Paper on the Transposition of the Groundwater Daughter Directive (2006/118/EC):

Agreed: That the Committee request a synopsis of responses from the Department.

Transposition of the Environmental Liability Directive consultation:

Agreed: That the Committee is content with the Minister proceeding with an 8 week consultation period rather than the usual 12 week period.

Agreed : That the Committee request a synopsis of responses from the Department and that Departmental officials are invited to brief the Committee on the responses at a future meeting.

Consultation on the draft Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases Regulations (NI) 2009 – synopsis of responses and draft Statutory Rule:

Agreed: That the Committee is content with the Department proceeding with their risk based approach.

10. Forward Work Programme

Members noted the revised Committee Forward Work Programme and agreed to meeting the Southern Health Action Group in Armagh on 12 March.

11. Correspondence
  1. Departmental response regarding the Committees’ request for further information on the designation of Lisnaragh area of special scientific interest (ASSI) at its meeting on 15 th January 2009.

Agreed: That a copy of the response is forwarded to Peter Ward for information.

  1. Letter from Clerk, Committee on Procedures regarding an inquiry into legislative consent and terms of reference for the inquiry.

Agreed: That the Clerk drafts a response for consideration at a future Committee meeting.

  1. Members noted a copy of a draft Press release from Health Protection Agency on “Advise on the land disposal of solid radioactive waste.”
  2. Members noted a copy of an e-mail to Sammy Wilson regarding global warming fraud.
  3. Members noted a letter from the Department regarding regulatory guidance on the requirements for near-surface and deep geological disposal facilities for radioactive wastes.

Agreed: That Committee staff ascertain if there are any proposals linked to Northern Ireland in this guidance.

  1. Members noted a Departmental response regarding the Committee’s request for further information following the briefing provided by Departmental officials at the meeting on 29 January 2009 i n relation to the Performance Efficiency and Delivery Unit (PEDU) review of the Planning Service.
  2. Members noted a response from the Minister regarding Chaiperson’s letter of 29 January 2009 confirming that the Committee is content with the terms of the LCM on the UK Marine and Coastal Access Bill.
  3. E-mail from William Taylor requesting a meeting with the Committee and Farmers for Action in the near future to discuss the new PPS21 Planning Rule.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to Farmers for Action advising them to make a submission to the consultation process on PPS21 and to forward the submission to the Committee for information.

  1. Members noted an invitation from Capita Group Plc to a Tackling Alcohol Related Anti-Social Behaviour Conference on Thursday 23 rd April 2009 in Central London.
  2. Aquinas Grammar School's young enterprise company’s request to present, to the Committee, a board game which is designed to help develop better practises for key stage two level pupils regarding littering, pollution and general environmental awareness.

Agreed: That 2 members of the Committee meet pupils from Aquinas Grammar School.

  1. Members noted a letter from Chief Executive of Bryson Charitable Group requesting the opportunity to present evidence regarding their “Sort It Out” education programme and for the Committee to consider the value of the programme currently delivered in primary schools across Northern Ireland.
  2. Members noted an invitation to 8 th Sir Bernard Crossland lecture on “Nuclear power, a tool of sustainable development, presented by Bertrand Barre.
  3. Members noted the following DOE Press Releases / Publications

“Environment Agency to carry out graves survey”

“Cookstown Businessman fined £2,000 for polluting discharge to a waterway”

“Cookstown Farmer fined for polluting discharge to a waterway”

“Lisbellaw vehicle breaker fined for waste offences”

“Minister’s concerns about the safety of workers travelling in vans”

“Volume 10 Issue 1 February 2009 NIEL News - Full document available in room 247”

“Environmental Protection UK February 2009 Briefing

“Natural Heritage research project to inform future policy”

“Environment Agency survey captures Cookstown’s Architectural Gems”

“Northern Ireland Water Ltd fined £2,500 for polluting discharged to a waterway”

12. Any other business

Agreed: That a press release is issued regarding the Committee’s visit to Castlewellan.

13. Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting will be held on Thursday, 26 February 2009 at 10.30am in the Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.46 p.m.

Patsy McGlone
Chairperson, Committee for the Environment
26 February 2009

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