COMMITTEE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS
THURSDAY 15 MAY 2008,
ROOM 135, PARLIAMENT BUILDINGS
Mr Patsy McGlone (Chairperson)
Mr Cathal Boylan
Mr David Ford
Mr Tommy Gallagher
Mr Samuel Gardiner
Mr Ian McCrea
Mr Alastair Ross
Mr Peter Weir
Ms Patricia Casey (Assembly Clerk)
Mr Sean McCann (Clerical Supervisor)
Mr Iain Elliott (Clerical Officer)
Mr Billy Armstrong
Mr Trevor Clarke
The meeting commenced in public session at 10.36 a.m.
Apologies are detailed above
Agreed – the draft minutes of the meeting on 8 May were agreed.
Goods Vehicles (Licensing of Operators) Bill:
The Chairperson informed members that the Goods Vehicles (Licensing of Operators) Bill would receive its second reading on Tuesday 20 May.
Agreed: That the Chairperson speaks on behalf of the Committee agreeing the principles of the Bill.
Briefing by British Wind Energy Association
Representatives from the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) briefed the Committee and answered members’ questions on draft PPS18.
The main areas of discussion were landscape sensitivity, north-south trading, the amount of planning applications being refused, the costs involved, the timescale for the formation of a working group as put forward by the Minister, possible interference form wind farms in telecommunications and the amount of turbines needed to reach renewable energy targets.
Agreed: That a letter is sent to the DOE requesting information on the role and remit of the working group and the number of wind farms already in existence and the number of farms, and turbines, needed to meet the renewable energy target.
Agreed: That BWEA’s document on the Supplementary Planning Guidance to PPS18 is forwarded to the Department for comment.
Departmental briefing on UK Marine Bill
The Committee Chairperson passed on his thanks to Assembly Research for the comprehensive paper they had provided to members on this issue.
Departmental officials briefed the Committee and answered members’ questions on the draft UK Marine Bill.
The main areas of discussion were the definitions of in shore and off shore, the potential for co-operation with the Republic of Ireland, preparations for subsequent Northern Ireland legislation and spatial planning.
Agreed: That a letter is sent to the DOE indicating the Committee’s broad support for the Bill.
Departmental briefing on Carbon Reduction Commitment
Departmental officials briefed the Committee and answered members’ questions on Carbon Reduction Commitment.
Mr McGlone left the meeting at 12.13p.m. and Mr Boylan assumed the Chair.
Mr McGlone returned to the meeting at 12.17 and resumed the Chair.
The main areas of discussion were the effectiveness of a carbon trading scheme, concern around the possibility of public agencies opting out of the scheme, street lighting and the regulatory role of EHS.
Agreed: That a letter is sent to the DOE indicating the Committee’s broad support for the scheme.
Agreed: That a letter is sent to the DOE for clarification on EHS’s regulatory role in the scheme and the resources that will be made available to EHS to ensure it fulfils its regulatory role.
Proposals for Secondary Legislation - SL1s
SL1 – The Local Government Pension Scheme (Benefits, Membership and Contributions) Regulations (NI) 2008
SL1 – The Local Government Pension Scheme (Administration) Regulations (NI) 2008
SL1 – The Local Government Pension Scheme (Transitional Provisions) Regulations (NI) 2008
Agreed: That a letter is sent to the DOE asking if the relevant Trade Unions have been consulted on these proposals and, if they have, what are their views.
SI – UK-Wide Consultation on Statutory Instrument for Enforcement of EU Reach Chemicals Regulation (1907/2006)
1. Letter from NIIRTA requesting a meeting with the Committee.
Agreed: That NIIRTA are invited to a future Committee meeting.
2. Members noted an e-mail from DOE in response to request from the Committee Meeting of the 17 th April for more Information on Nitrates Action Programme (Amendment) Regulations (NI) 2008, Supplementary Planning Guidance on Wind Sensitivity in Northern Ireland’s Landscapes and PPS 18 – Renewable Energy.
3. Members noted a memo in response to the request made at Committee for Finance and Personnel meeting held on 16 th April asking for details on the Role of the Performance and Efficiency Delivery Unit (PEDU).
4. Letter from Claire Ferry of the RSPB requesting Meeting with Committee to formally present the RSPB’s position on Planning Reform in Northern Ireland.
Agreed: That 2-3 members of the Committee meet RSPB.
5. Letter from Killinchy Rural Preservation Group requesting meeting with Committee regarding Planning Ref X/2007/0964. Agreed: That a letter is sent to the Killinchy Rural Preservation Group informing them that the Committee has written to the DOE on this matter and is awaiting a response.
6. Members noted an e-mail from NIEL News detailing May Issue of its free monthly newsletter.
7. Members noted an e-mail from Philip King regarding ‘The Climate Change Bill’ requesting that the committee considers encouraging the Executive to include Northern Ireland in the Bill before the passage of its second draft in October.
Agreed: That Mr King is provided with an update on the Committee’s work to date on the Climate Change Bill.
8. E-mail from Tony O’Neill of O’Kane Poultry requesting Meeting in regards to the Planning Application for the Rose Energy project planning application. The Clerk also received a text message from Wesley Aston of the Ulster Farmers Union requesting an opportunity to provide their views on this issue.
Agreed: That O’Kane Poultry and the Ulster Farmers Union are invited to a future Committee meeting.
Agreed: That the Committee meetings on 22 and 29 May start at 10a.m. to accommodate the meetings with the above groups.
9. Members noted an e-mail from Eimer O’Hare from the Sustainable Development Commission inviting Committee to attend the lecture ‘The Rapidly Changing World of Food’.
10. Members noted a memo from Roisin Kelly on the NIAUR Consultation on Sustainability – Cross Cutting Issues.
11. Members noted a memo from Shane McAteer inviting the Committee to submit their views to the Committee for Finance and Personnel on the work of Sir David Varney on the Economy of Northern Ireland.
12. Members noted an e-mail from Heather McEneaney detailing the joint publication of two consolation Documents on Disposal Facilities for Radioactive Waste by 3 UK Environmental Agencies.
13. Members noted an e-mail from Tony O’Neil from O’Kane Poultry requesting an opportunity to meet with the Committee regarding the planning application for the Rose Energy Plant.
14. Letter from Councillor Pat McCarthy in relation to complaints to the Planning Service on a developer’s work in Ballynafeigh. Agreed: That a copy of the letter is sent to the Planning Service for comment.
Members noted the following DOE Press Releases:
- Foster Hears Views on Mourne National Park.
- Strabane Man Fined £2,500 for Waste Offences.
- Omagh Property Developer Fined £1,500 for Waste Offences.
- Environment Minister Welcomes Planning Service Success in Londonderry.
- Donemana Man Fined £600.
- Donemana Man Fined £600.
- Environment Minister Welcomes Court Fines for Pollution Incidents.
- Limavady Company Fined £6,000 for major Fish Kill
- Northern Ireland Water Fined £5000
Any Other Business
The Chairperson informed members that there may be an event in Parliament Buildings on 5 June which could impact on the Committee’s proposed visit to Armagh.
Agreed: That the visit to Armagh is rescheduled.
The Chairperson informed members that the Committee office had received more than 200 letters of support for the proposed Rose Energy incinerator.
Agreed: That replies are sent to these letters informing them that the Committee is meeting with those for and against the proposal.
Agreed: That the letters are sent to the DOE.
Date, time and place of next meeting
The next meeting will be held on Thursday, 22 May 2008 at 10.30am in Room 144, Parliament Buildings.
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.34p.m.