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Present: Fred Cobain MLA (Chairperson)
Jim Wells MLA (Deputy Chairperson)
Cathal Boylan MLA
Willie Clarke MLA
John Dallat MLA
John McCallister MLA
Raymond McCartney MLA
George Robinson MLA
Brian Wilson MLA

In Attendance: Roisin Kelly (Assembly Clerk)
Gillian Lyness (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Clairita Frazer (Clerical Supervisor)
Tom Skelton (Clerical Officer)
Stephanie Galbraith (Researcher)

Apologies: William Irwin MLA
Stephen Moutray MLA

The meeting opened at 10.01 am in public session.

1. Apologies.

Apologies are detailed above.

2. Chairperson’s Business

The Chairperson brought to the Committee’s attention the serious flooding that hit Northern Ireland yesterday. The Committee agreed that the Chairperson would write to the Minister to ask what action will be taken to address this serious issue.

The Chairperson informed Members that he has requested a transcript of the meeting of 16 May 2007, and that Hansard had agreed to produce this on an exceptional basis.

3. Draft Minutes.

Minutes of the meeting of 6 June 2007 were agreed.

4. Matters Arising.

The Committee noted:
 The letter from the Committee to the Minister, dated 6 June 2007, outlining the Committee’s initial views on the key issues in water reform and recommendations for the terms of reference for the review;
 The letter from the Minister dated 8 June 2007, in response to the Committee’s letter of 6 June 2007.
 The draft letter from the Chairperson, on behalf of the Committee, to the Minister in response to his letter of 8 June 2007. Members agreed to issue the letter to the Minister.
 The Minister’s statement ‘Review of Water and Sewerage Services’ to the Assembly on 11 June 2007;
 The terms of reference for the ‘Review of Water and Sewerage Services’ as announced on 11 June 2007.
 The letter from the Minister, dated 5 June 2007, announcing the launch of the Sub Regional Transport Plan, the copy of the consultation process report and the executive summary.
 The letter to stakeholders inviting them to provide an oral briefing to the Committee on 20 June 2007, the list of attendees and indicative timings.
 Background papers and information on water charges and consumer debt received from Advice NI. The Chairperson informed Members that Advice NI will be briefing the Committee at its meeting of 20 June 2007.
 The revised work programme. The Committee reiterated its commitment to make itself available for meetings during summer recess. The Chairperson asked Members to advise committee staff of dates they would be available to meet over the summer recess.

10.13 Willie Clarke joined the meeting.
10.18 am NIAUR Executives joined the meeting.

5. Briefing from Northern Ireland Authority for Utility Regulation.

Iain Osborne, Chief Executive and Jo Aston, Head of Water briefed the Committee. They gave a short presentation on the Utility Regulator’s responsibilities. A question and answer session followed. Iain Osborne agreed to keep the Committee updated on his review of the Go-Co’s [NI Water Ltd] Strategic Business Plan.

Jim Wells joined the meeting at 10.25 am.
11.30 am NIAUR executives left the meeting.
11.32 am DRD officials joined the meeting.

6. Briefing on submitted budget bids for 2008-11.

David Sterling, Senior Finance Director Resources and Management Section, and Donald Henry, Finance Director briefed the Committee. Following a question and answer session, the officials agreed to forward additional information to the Committee, and to provide officials to the meeting of 27 June 2007 to brief the Committee on the Measure Investment Proposals. Officials agreed to inform the Committee of latest date for receipt of the Committee’s views on budget bids for 2008-11 and Measure Investment Proposals.

11.46 am DRD officials left the meeting.
11.47 am Roads Service officials joined the meeting.

7. Briefing on the Roads Service

Geoff Allister, Acting Chief Executive, Andrew Murray, Director of Network Services and Bob Cairns, Director of Engineering gave a short presentation to the Committee followed by a question and answer session.

12.28 am officials left the meeting.

8. Subordinate Legislation.

The Committee resolved it was content with the SL1 The Harbour Works (Environment Impact Assessment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2007 and the SL1The Waiting Restrictions (Keady) Order (Northern Ireland) 2007.

The Committee noted receipt of the following SL1s:

 The One Way Traffic (Newcastle) (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2007.

 The Newton Heights, Belfast (Footpath) (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2007.

 The Kirk Road, Ballymoney (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2007.

Members have requested further information on SL1 ‘The Street Works (2007 Amendment Order) (Commencement No.1) (Northern Ireland) 2007’. It was agreed to invite a representative from the Department to brief the Committee on 27 June 2007 on this SL1.

9. Correspondence.

Members noted receipt of the following correspondence:

 Email from Patsy McGlone MLA to Minister, Conor Murphy on behalf of a constituent.
 Letter dated 12 June 2007 from the Department detailing the additional material requested following the meeting of 23 May 2007. The Members noted the two outstanding requests.

10. Any Other Business.

Members agreed to issue a press release reflecting the issues discussed at today’s meeting.

11. Date, venue and time of next meeting.

The Committee agreed that the next meeting be held on Wednesday 20 June 2007 at 10.00am in Room 144. The Committee agreed that as it was a full day session Members would want to gather at 9.45 am to ensure the smooth running of the meeting and a prompt start at 10.00 am.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.42 pm.

Signed: Fred Cobain MLA
Chairperson, Committee for Regional Development.

6 June / Menu / 20 June 2007