2 April 2009
ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE CALLS FOR ACTION ON COSTS
The Committee for the Environment is so concerned about the number of fee increases being proposed by the Department of the Environment that it has called on the Department to demonstrate what positive action it is taking to minimise costs to businesses.
Chairman Patsy McGlone said, “Over the last few weeks the Environment Committee has been asked to consider a range of fee increase proposals across various divisions of the Department. Members know the Department faces an ongoing struggle for resources but will not accept that this can be solved simply by passing on costs. We are in the middle of an economic crisis and must protect consumers and businesses from unnecessary increases. We have therefore called for the Department to clarify what positive action it is taking to reduce its financial impact before we will consider further price increases put before the Committee.”
The Environment Committee recently compared the Department’s approach with that of the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency which is aiming to help the economy whilst also protecting the environment and the health and well being of communities across Scotland. This includes the waiving of certain fees and keeping charge increases below the retail price index as well as providing business advice, streamlining licensing processes and improving coordination in the planning system.
“We want the Department to demonstrate a constructive approach to supporting economic activity and look to initiatives like Scotland’s for examples of how it might be achieved. It is essential that all Departments recognise their part in helping Northern Ireland through this economic crisis”, concluded Mr McGlone
Notes to editors
The Committee for the Environment will next meet on Thursday 02 April 2009 at 10.30am in Room 144, Parliament Buildings.
Patsy McGlone, Chairperson
Cathal Boylan, Deputy Chairperson
Mrs Alexandra McGarel
Clerk to the Committee
Committee for the Environment,
Belfast BT4 3XX.
Telephone 028 90521347.
Fax 028 90521795