Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2008/2009

Date: 28 May 2009

COMMITTEE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT

MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS
THURSDAY 28 MAY 2009,
SENATE CHAMBER, PARLIAMENT BUILDINGS

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

The meeting began in public session at 10.35a.m.

1. Apologies

Apologies are detailed above.

2. Matters Arising

Chairperson’s meeting with Institute of Directors (IOD) Business Environment Committee on 14 May 2009:

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a note of the meeting on 14 May 2009 between the Chairperson and the IOD Environment Committee for information.

Agreed: That representatives of the IOD are invited to brief the Committee at a future meeting.

Ministerial response re meeting with Road Haulage Association (RHA)/Freight Transport Association(FTA):

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a copy of a response from the Minister, dated 21 May 2009, advising that the proposed meeting with FTA/RHA has been deferred until 6 July 2009.

3. Briefing by National Trust on the plans for the Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre

Representatives from the National Trust briefed the Committee and answered members’ questions on their organisation’s planning application for a visitor’s centre at the Giant’s Causeway.

Mr Weir joined the meeting at 10.44a.m. 
Mr Ross joined the meeting at 10.46a.m.

The main areas of discussion were funding, transport management plans and educational facilities.

Mr Clarke joined the meeting at 10.54a.m.

4. Minutes

Agreed – the draft minutes of the meeting on 21 May were agreed.

5. Briefing by Federation of the Retail Licensed Trade (FRTL) NI on the proposals to increase the cost of entertainment licences

Mr McGlone declared an interest as his brother is involved in the licensed retail trade.

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

Mr Ford declared an interest as a member of Antrim Borough Council.

Representatives from the Federation of the Retail Licensed Trade NI briefed the Committee and answered members’ questions on the proposals to increase the cost of entertainment licences.

Mr Weir left the meeting at 11.26a.m.

Agreed: That the FRTL forwards a copy of the recent report by the Westminster Committee for Culture, Sports and Media.

The main areas of discussion were Performing Rights Society fees, full cost recovery, rates, safety, the relationship between FRTL and the DOE and proposals from the FRTL on this issue.

Agreed: That Assembly Research provides a paper on this issue.

Mr Weir returned to the meeting at 11.35a.m.

Agreed: That a copy of the FRTL survey is forwarded to the DOE.

6. Inquiry into Climate Change update

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a copy of a report entitled ‘Towards a Healthier Economy’ for information.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with a tabled paper from Assembly Research Services detailing the government structures dealing with climate change policy and delivery across the UK and in the Republic of Ireland as requested at the meeting on 21 May 2009. A member of Assembly Research briefed the Committee on the paper.

The Chairperson informed members that they had been provided with draft itinerary/further information regarding the proposed Committee visit in relation to the Inquiry into Climate Change for further consideration as agreed at the meeting on 21 May 2009.

7. Inquiry - Oral Evidence from Climate Change Coalition (CCC)

Representatives from Climate Change Coalition (CCC) briefed the Committee and answered members’ questions on climate change.

The main areas of discussion were costs and the effect on the NI bloc grant, emissions and targets, energy efficiency, initial outlay costs, the Assembly’s role in assisting poorer countries, government incentives, a Northern Ireland climate change act, the scrutiny role of the Environment Committee, the Republic of Ireland Climate Protection Act, OFMDFM’s sustainable development role, trading schemes and plastic bags.

Agreed: That information on the Barnett consequentials as a result of the costs of adapting for climate change is requested from DFP.

8. Inquiry - Oral Evidence from Council for Nature Conservation and the Countryside (CNCC)

Representatives from Council for Nature Conservation and the Countryside (CNCC) briefed the Committee and answered members’ questions on climate change.

The main areas of discussion were suggestions for scrutiny mechanisms, projected targets for 2020, wind energy, the payback time for wind turbines, hydro-electricity and nuclear energy.

Mr Clarke left the meeting at 1.14p.m. 
Mr Ford left the meeting at 1.14p.m.

9. Forward Work Programme

Members noted the revised Committee Forward Work Programme.

10. Correspondence

1. Letter from Mr Gallagher, MLA, regarding correspondence from DOE Planning Division following an enquiry into a case were a farmer has received DARD approval for building a slurry tank. 
Agreed: That DOE and DARD officials are invited to brief the Committee on this issue at a future meeting.

2. E-mail from Tonia McIntyre to Chairperson regarding the proposed NWRWMG landfill site at Cam Road, Coleraine. 
Agreed: That DOE officials are invited to brief the Committee on this issue at a future meeting.

3. Letter from the Donaghadee Road Safety Committee to Chairperson regarding the withdrawal of core funding. 
Agreed: That the Donaghadee Road Safety Committee are made aware that the Committee will discuss this issue with the Minister at the meeting on 11 June 2009.

4. Memo from the Committee for Regional Development regarding the Review of the Regional Development Strategy. 
Agreed: That a copy of the memo is forwarded to the DOE Minister.

5. Memo from the Committee for Regional Development regarding a letter to the Minister for the Environment. 
Agreed: That a copy of the memo is forwarded to the DOE Minister.

6. Members noted a letter from C.T. Developments Ltd to Chairperson regarding the impact the Planning Service is having on inward investment in Northern Ireland.

7. Members noted a memo from the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure regarding a seminar to raise awareness and promote the use of townland names on 17 th June 2009 in Parliament Buildings.

8. Members noted a Departmental response to the Committee’s request for a synopsis of consultation responses to the consultation paper on the EU Groundwater Daughter Directive.

9. Departmental response to the Committee’s request for comments on a letter from the British Medical Association regarding tackling obesity. 
Agreed: That a copy of the response is forwarded to the BMA.

10. Members noted a memo from the Committee for Employment and Learning regarding the Committee’s inquiry into Climate Change.

11. Members noted a Departmental response to the Committee’s request for further information regarding the proportion of Planning Service costs currently being met and expected to be met by planning application income and details of proposed fee increases as discussed with the Permanent Secretary.

12. Members noted a Departmental response to the Committee’s request for further information about the outcome of the P2 challenge regarding the Craigmore Quarry Article 31 planning application.

13. Members noted an e -mail from Jeff Mochan to Esther Ouwehand regarding an update on the chicken manure incineration plant in Holland.

14. Members noted an e -mail from Sustainable Development Commission inviting the Chairperson to a reception in the Long Gallery, Parliament Buildings, Belfast, on Wednesday 10 th June 2009 at 2.30pm to discuss the Green New Deal for Northern Ireland .

15. Members noted an e-mail from Capita inviting the Committee to an event in partnership with Catch22, “Steering Young People Away From Crime” on Wednesday 24 th June 2009 in Central London.

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

The next meeting will be held on Thursday, 11 June 2009 at 10.30am in Room 144, Parliament Buildings.

The Deputy Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 1.15 p.m.

Patsy McGlone
Chairperson, Committee for the Environment
11 June 2009

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