Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2008/2009

Date: 23 April 2009

COMMITTEE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT

MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS
THURSDAY 23 APRIL 2009,
ROOM 144, PARLIAMENT BUILDINGS

Present:

Mr Roy Beggs
Mr Cathal Boylan (Deputy Chairperson)
Mr Trevor Clarke
Mr David Ford
Mr Tommy Gallagher
Mr Ian McCrea
Mr Patsy McGlone (Chairperson)
Mr Daithi McKay
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 David McClarty

The meeting began in public session at 10.38 a.m.

1. Apologies

Apologies are detailed above.

2. Minutes

Agreed – the draft minutes of the meeting on 2 April were agreed.

3. Matters Arising

Learning Disability Week:

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a copy of a letter from the Clerk, Committee for Employment and Learning clarifying issues relating to the Learning Disability Week which runs from 22 June – 28 June 2009.

Response re DOE Action to Minimise the Cost to Business:

The Chairperson informed members that a copy of the Departmental response clarifying the action it is taking to minimise the costs to business, given the current economic climate, had been included in meeting papers for consideration.

Agreed: That the DOE Permanent Secretary is invited to brief the Committee at the meeting on 30 April.

Amended Draft Determination of Fees for Entertainments Licences:

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a copy of the amended Draft Determination of Fees for Entertainment Licences for consideration.

Agreed: That this issue is discussed further at the meeting on 30 April.

Waste Management Charging Scheme – synopsis of responses:

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a synopsis of responses to the Waste Management Charging Scheme.

Invitation from Rose Energy to Visit Moerdijk Plant:

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a copy of the invitation from Rose Energy to visit the Energy from Waste plant based at Moerdijk, Holland.

Agreed: That this issue is discussed in more detail at the meeting on 30 April.

Members noted that the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development recently visited this plant (1 st – 3 rd April 2009) and also noted copies of the presentations given during this visit.

Update on Proposed North South Interconnector:

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with an update on the current status of the proposed North South Interconnector for information.

Agreed: That this information is forwarded to all parties concerned with this issue.

Response regarding Queries on Introduction of Application Fees and Annual Subsistence Charges for Abstraction and Impoundment Licensing:

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a copy of the NIEA response to the Committee’s comments and queries on the proposals to introduce application fees and annual charges for abstraction and impoundment licensing.

Ministerial Response re Goods Vehicles (Licensing of Operators) Bill:

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a copy of the Minister’s response, dated 9 April 2009 to the Committee’s request for further information on his concerns regarding the timing of implementation of the Goods Vehicles (Licensing of Operators) Bill.

Agreed: That a copy of the Minister’s response is forwarded to the Road Haulage Association and Freight Transport Association and that details of all views made to the Minister on this issue are requested from the Department.

4. Departmental briefing on the Local Government (Contracts and Compulsory Purchase) and Finance Bills

The following members declared an interest as councillors:

Patsy McGlone – Cookstown District Council
Peter Weir – North Down Borough Council, NILGA member, Panel A member
David Ford – Antrim Borough Council
Ian McCrea – Cookstown District Council
Roy Beggs – Carrickfergus Borough Council
Trevor Clarke – Antrim Borough Council
Daithi McKay – Ballymoney Borough Council

Departmental officials briefed the Committee and answered members’ questions on the Local Government (Contracts and Compulsory Purchase) and Finance Bills.

The main areas of discussion were compulsory purchase powers and vesting, the development of public/private partnerships and the Committee stage of the Bills.

Agreed: That the DOE forwards the Committee a timetable for the introduction of these Bills.

Mr Weir left the meeting at 11.10a.m.
Mr Boylan left the meeting at 11.10a.m.

5. Briefing by arc21, SWaMP2008 and NWRWMG on the Local Government (Contracts and Compulsory Purchase) Bill

Mr Beggs declared an interest as a member of Carrickfergus Borough Council.

Representatives from arc21, SWaMP2008 and North West Region Waste Management Group (NWRWMG) briefed the Committee and answered members’ questions on the Local Government (Contracts and Compulsory Purchase) Bill.

Mr Gallagher left the meeting at 11.15a.m.

6. Briefing by SITA UK on the challenges facing waste management

Representatives from SITA UK briefed the Committee and answered members’ questions on the challenges facing waste management.

7. Committee Inquiry into Climate Change

The Chairperson informed members that they had been e-mailed copies of the ‘summary of the written submissions’ documents and had also been provided with an updated list of responses. A total of 42 responses have been received.

The Committee’s Specialist Adviser, Professor Sue Christie, will attend the Committee meeting on 30 April 2009 to make recommendations to members on who should provide oral evidence and suggest possible visits in relation to the Inquiry.

Members also noted that it is anticipated that oral evidence sessions will commence on 7 May 2009 and further details should be available at the meeting on 30 April.

8.Proposals for Secondary Legislation

SL1 - European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval – Individual Vehicle Approval Fees Legislation

Agreed: That a decision on this SL1 is deferred until the meeting on 30 April.

SL1 – The Waste Management Strategy Regulations ( Northern Ireland) 2009

Agreed: That the Committee considered the SL1 – The Waste Management Strategy Regulations ( Northern Ireland) 2009 and had no objection to the proposal.

9. Departmental consultations

Consultation on Severance Arrangements for Councillors and the Establishment of Transition Committees in Statute:

Agreed: That a synopsis of the responses is requested from the DOE.

Increase to annual charge in respect of Water Order consents to discharge that are subject to monitoring:

Agreed: That consideration of this issue is deferred until the meeting on 30 April.

Recast of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive and the Restriction of the use of certain Hazardous Substances in electrical and electronic equipment (RoHS) Directives:

Agreed: That a synopsis of the responses is requested from the DOE.

10. Forward Work Programme

Members noted the revised Committee Forward Work Programme and a copy of the DOE Forward Work Programme.

Agreed: That no meeting will be held on 4 June due to the European elections.

11. Correspondence

1. Reply from the DOE to correspondence from David McNarry MLA, Chair of the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure, regarding the use of townland names.

Agreed: That a copy of the reply is sent to the CAL Committee.

2. Memo from Clerk, Audit Committee regarding International Financial Reporting Standards.

Agreed: That a copy of the memo is forwarded to the DOE for comment.

3. Members noted a memo from the Clerk to the Committee for Regional Development regarding PC10 Ministerial Social and Environmental Guidance.

4. Letter from the British Medical Association Northern Ireland to the Chairperson requesting all Committees to call for a wider discussion on how obesity can be tackled and what work may have already been carried out to encourage the population to lead healthier lifestyles.

Agreed: That a copy of the letter is forwarded to the DOE for comment.

5. E-mail from Mark Hamilton, Biotecture Ireland, offering some recommendations as part of the PPS 21 public consultation process.

Agreed: That a copy of the e-mail is forwarded to the DOE for comment.

6. Departmental response to the Committee’s request for further information on the Letter from Mrs McCouaig, Principle of Kylemore Nursery School, Coleraine, seeking the Committee’s support in retaining Education Officers at various NIEA country parks.

Agreed: That consideration of this issue is deferred until the meeting on 30 April.

7. Departmental response to the Committee’s request for comments on issues raised by the Keady and District Angling Club regarding local water quality.

Agreed: That a copy of the response is forwarded to the Keady and District Angling Club.

8. Departmental response to the Committee’s request for further information regarding European regulation (EC) no 561/2006 on drivers’ hours.

Agreed: That a copy of the response is forwarded to Linwoods.

9. Members noted an e-mail from member of the public regarding concerns for the A5 road scheme ( Dublin to L/Derry).

10. Departmental response to the Committee’s request for an update on the recommendation made by the Committee on the mandatory wearing of cycle helmets.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department asking what consideration has been given to the recommendation on the mandatory wearing of cycle helmets.

11. Departmental response to the committee’s request for comments on the letter from Seamus Bailey regarding PPS 21.

Agreed: That a copy of the response is forwarded to Mr Bailey.

12. Letter from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development responding to the Committee’s request for comments regarding proposals for the extension of designated Shellfish Waters areas in Northern Ireland.

Agreed: That DOE officials are invited to a future meeting to brief members on this issue and that DARD officials are also notified.

13. Members noted a letter from Owen McQuade, Director Bmf Business Service thanking the Chairperson for speaking at the Delivering planning reform conference in the Culloden Hotel.

14. Letter and memo from the Committee for Social Development requesting that DOE officials brief the DSD Committee on PPS 5.

Agreed: That the request is forwarded to the DOE.

15. Members noted a Departmental response to the Committee’s request for supplementary information on Drinking Water enforcement orders.

16. Members noted an e-mail from Joris Minne, NIE, regarding a briefing note on key comments relevant to underground cables and the ASKON report .

17. Departmental response to the Committee’s request for further information on the current position (in relation to enforcement action) of the demolition of a building on the morning of 26 th January 2009 in a protected area in Newcastle, Co Down.

Agreed: That the Committee is kept up to date in this issue.

18. Members noted an e-mail from the Committee for Finance and Personnel regarding Hansard Transcript from the Committee for Finance and Personnel meeting on 11 March in relation to Varney II and Strategic Economic Issues.

19. Members noted a letter from the Minister to Chairperson regarding the proposed arrangements for the transposition of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive in Northern Ireland.

20. Members noted a Departmental response to the Committee’s request for clarification on when they can expect to receive the consultation paper on the proposals for planning reform.

21. Members noted a Departmental response to the Committee’s request for further information regarding the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency’s ten point plan.

22. Members noted a Departmental response regarding the recent demonstration of the ePIC system to the Environment Committee.

23. Departmental response to the Committee’s request for further information regarding EU Environmental matters.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the DOE asking for more information on this issue.

24. Members noted a Letter from NIEA regarding declarations of ASSIs.

25. Departmental response to the Committee’s request for further information regarding the number of vehicles that will be affected by the proposed Individual Vehicle Approval fees legislation pursuant to EU Directive 2007/46 on European Community Whole Vehicle.

Agreed: That consideration of this issue is deferred until the meeting on April 30.

26. Members noted a letter from Karen Magill, Federation of Passenger Transport to Chairperson regarding the review of O licensing including the 10B Permit Scheme.

27. Letter from David Lynn, Head of Estates, responding to the Committee’s request for information on the types of light bulbs used in Parliament Buildings, Stormont.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to Mr Lynn asking for more information on this issue.

28. Departmental response regarding NI authority for utility regulation social action plan 2009-2014.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Department requesting that this issue is re-examined.

29. Members noted a Departmental response regarding statistics, on a six monthly basis, on pass/fail rates for full vehicle tests and re-tests, provided by the Departments Driver and Vehicle Agency.

30. Departmental response to the Committee’s request for further information regarding initiatives from BT that would improve telecommunications and provide better ways of working, which would help reduce carbon emissions and provide financial savings.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the DOE asking for further clarity on this issue.

31. Letter from Michael Patrick Martin, on behalf of Antrim and District Angling Club thanking the Committee for investigating his objection for the granting of planning permission for the development of the river bank at Dunadry.

Agreed: That a copy of the letter is forwarded to the DOE for a response from NIEA.

32. Departmental response regarding the Committee’s query on the ASSI Management being unclear.

Agreed: That a letter is sent to the DOE asking for further information on the underspend.

33. Members noted an e-mail from Ulster Wildlife trust inviting the committee to a workshop on Cooperation between farmers and nature conservation in Europe held in Belfast on 23-24 th April 2009.

34. Members noted an e-mail from Capita regarding venue confirmation for their 6 th National Tackling Alcohol Related Anti-Social Behaviour Conference. The Committee are invited to the conference on Thursday 23 rd April 2009 in the Holiday Inn London – Regent’s Park, London.

35. Members noted an e-mail from Colum Delaney RSPB inviting the Members to meet and engage with their team on Thursday 14 th May at 2.30pm in Stormont Parliament Buildings. Details of a room number etc to follow.

36. Members noted a letter from WWF inviting the Committee to the launch of the Ballinderry RIPPLE action plan at 11.30am, Saturday 2 nd May 2009 Wellbrook Beetling Mill, Cookstown.

37. Letter from Peter Ward to the Chairperson inviting the Committee to Dunamanagh for a site visit regarding ASSI 288 Lisnaragh Dunamanagh.

Agreed: That any individual member contacts Mr Ward if they wish to visit the site.

38. Members noted an e-mail from Capita inviting to the Committee to their 6 th National Conference Third Sector Commissioning, Overcoming Barriers and Realising Potential on Monday 22 nd June 2009 in Central London.

39. Members noted the following DOE Press Releases / Publications:

“Minister outlines proposals for local Government reform transition Committees” 
“Agency draws attention to wonderful Environmental assets” 
“Equality Focus newsletter – March 2009” 
“Minister outlines councillor severance proposals” 
“ Wilson embarks on fact finding Cairngorms National Park Visit” 
“Co Antrim business fined for polluting discharge to a waterway” 
“Minister welcomes taxi compliance levels” 
“Over 1000 vehicles clamped in New Year crackdown” 
“Expansion plans approved for Blue Chip Company” 
“Wilson ends National Park visit with spectacular mountain tour” 
“ Wilson announces proposals to get tough on drink driving” 
“MOT evasion falls in Northern Ireland” 
“NIEL news – April 2009” 
“Environmental Protection UK April 2009, No. 100 briefing available in room 247” 
“Minister paves the way for recycled asphalt” 
“Tobermore Launch New Social Housing Booklet”

12. Any other business
13. Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting will be held on Thursday, 30 April 2009 at 10.30am in Room 144, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.12 p.m.

Patsy McGlone
Chairperson, Committee for the Environment
30 April 2009

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