MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS
WEDNESDAY, 27 JUNE 2007
ROOM 144, PARLIAMENT BUILDINGS
Fred Cobain MLA (Chairperson)
Jim Wells MLA (Deputy Chairperson)
Cathal Boylan MLA
John Dallat MLA
John McCallister MLA
Raymond McCartney MLA
Stephen Moutray MLA
George Robinson MLA
Brian Wilson MLA
Roisin Kelly (Assembly Clerk)
Gillian Lyness (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Clairita Frazer (Clerical Supervisor)
Tom Skelton (Clerical Officer)
Stephanie Galbraith (Researcher)
Willie Clarke MLA
William Irwin MLA
The meeting opened at 10.05 in public session.
Apologies are detailed above.
The Deputy Chairperson briefed the Committee on his recent meeting with executives from Belfast International Airport on the future plans for the International Airport. Members where in favour of having a future Committee meeting at Belfast International Airport.
Members decided to hold future meetings in locations outside Parliament Buildings and to include meetings ‘off site’ in the work programme from September 2007.
Members agreed that meeting packs would be delivered to their offices in Parliament Buildings on Friday 29 June 2007, in light of a planned postal strike.
John McCallister joined the meeting at 10.15 am.
Minutes of the meeting of 20 June 2007 were agreed.
The Committee noted:
- Replies from the Department in response to its letters of 23 May 2007, 24 May 2007 and 30 May 2007.
- Copy of report from Rural Community Network (NI) – ‘Rural Consultation on the Reform of Water & Sewerage Services in NI Report. June 2003’.
- Presentation slides from Consumer Council for NI – ‘Water Reform through the eyes of the consumer.’
- Letters to the Clerk for the Environment Committee and to the Clerk for Social Development Committee on Town Cramming.
- Letter to Nuala McKinley, Residents’ Association of Cherryvalley, Kensington & Shandon to meet with Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson.
- Letter of thanks to stakeholders for meeting with the Committee on 20 June 2007.
- Invitation from the Northern Ireland Anti-Poverty Network, Frances Dowds, to a seminar on ‘Monitoring Poverty & Social Exclusion in Northern Ireland’ on Thursday 28 June 2007 1.30 pm to 4.00 pm at NICVA, Duncarin Gardens, Belfast.
- Response from the Department to email of 31 May 2007 requesting ‘when and how the Committee will participate in reviewing PPS 12 in light of the Semple report and the potential timescale for action after the judicial review of PPS 14’.
- Response to the Department’s Draft Disability Action Plan.
- Letter to Paddy Hillyard, Chairperson of the Review of Water and Sewerage enclosing a copy of the briefings received by the Committee on water reform.
- Letter from the Minister re update on Review of Water and Sewerage Services and the Department for Regional Development’s indicative work programme.
- Budget 2007 – Supplementary Information from the Department.
- Letter from Committee for the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister – Emerging priorities for the Executive’s Programme for Government 2008 -11.
Cathal Boylan joined the meeting at 10.36 am.
- June Monitoring Briefing from the Clerk. Members noted the outcome of the June Monitoring round, and the Department’s in year pressures.
The Committee resolved to write to the Department to seek clarification on the reasons for the in year pressures on the NI Water resource and capital budget. The Committee decided to seek an explanation for the lack of resources for structural road maintenance.
The Committee decided to write to the Environment Committee to request that it seeks clarification from the planning service on land zoning and sales in the context of the A1; Beechhill to Cloghogue scheme, and to bring this issue to the attention of the Public Accounts Committee.
- Advice NI presentation to Regional Development Committee – Additional Material.
- Letter from CBI and copy of the report ‘Building on Success – the way forward for PFI.’
- Letter to Philip O’Neill, Chief Executive of Translink.
- Letter from Rural Community Network, Michael Hughes, Director.
The Committee decided to invite Michael Hughes to brief the Committee at a future meeting.
- News Release from NI Water – ‘New Waster Water Treatment Works for Loughguile’.
- Letter from Scottish Water - potential meeting over the summer recess. Nigel Arnet, Welsh Water and Dr Jon Hargreaves, Scottish Water have agreed to meet with the Committee on 8 /9 August 2007.
Members decided to invite the independent review panel to meet with Nigel Annett and Dr Hargreaves on Thursday 9 August 2007.
- Email from Nigel McCormick regarding Committee request for information – access to papers.
The Committee agreed that the Chairperson would write to the Department noting receipt of the email and expressing the Committee’s disappointment that the information requested will not now be received until 27 July 2007. Members agreed that this was an issue they might like to raise with the Minister at next week’s meeting.
Officials from the Department joined the meeting at 10.46 am.
Dr Andrew Murray, Director of Network Services and Roy Sherman, Road Service briefed the Committee on SL1 The Street Works (2007 Amendment Order) (Commencement No.1) (Northern Ireland) 2007 and SL1 The Roads (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2007.
Members agreed to note subordinate legislation made by Department of Trade and Industry – European Communities EC Competition law (Articles 84 and 85) Enforcement (Revocation) Regulations 2007. After a question and answer session the officials left the meeting.
Officials from the Department left the meeting at 11.10 am
The Committee decided that more information was needed before Members could indicate that they were content with the policy and merits of any SL1s.
The Committee decided to ask the Department to provide background information on the process / methodology of forming a SL1. Members also noted that certain SRs are not subject to Assembly procedures, therefore the SL1 is the key occasion when Members can question the policy merits of a Statutory Rule.
Members resolved to defer further consideration of the SL1s tabled on 20 & 27 June until further information is received.
Members decided to ensure that SL1s with constituency specific implications are brought to the attention of the relevant MLAs.
Budget Process 2007: Brief from the Clerk.
Members decided they did not wish to make recommendations to change the priority order of budget bids at this time and resolved to return to consider the budget priorities at the draft budget stage.
Geoff Allister and John White from the Department joined the meeting at11.35 am.
Investment Strategy for Northern Ireland 2008-18, Measure Investment Proposals.
Geoff Allister, acting Chief Executive Roads Service and John White acting Director of Strategic Programmes with the Roads Service briefed the Committee on the Measure Investment Proposal (MIP) for Roads.
Geoff Allister and John White left the meeting at 11.55 am.
Doreen Brown, Brian White and David Carson joined the meeting at 11.56 am.
Doreen Brown, Deputy Secretary Regional Planning and Transportation, Brian White Director of Ports and Public Transport and David Carson, Director of Public Transport Performance briefed the Committee on the Measure Investment Proposals (MIPs) for Public Transport and Gateways.
Doreen Brown, Brian White and David Carson left the meeting at 12.17 pm.
Nigel McCormick, Tom Hagan and Dave Saville joined the meeting at 12.18 pm.
Nigel McCormick, Director of the Shareholder Unit, Tom Hagan, Northern Ireland Water and Dave Saville, Northern Ireland Water briefed the Committee on the Measure Investment Proposal (MIP) for Water and Wastewater.
A question and answer session followed each briefing.
Members decided to note receipt of the MIPs and resolved to return to consider MIPs when the draft budget is available in the Autumn 2007.
Cathal Bolyan left the meeting at 12.38 pm.
Nigel McCormick, Tom Hagan and Dave Saville left the meeting 12.40 pm.
Members noted correspondence from the Minister and the advance copy of the ‘Policy Review of the Northern Ireland Concessionary Fares Scheme’.
Members decided to reply to the Minister, noting receipt of the review document and looking forward to engaging in consultation on any policy change arising from the review.
Meeting went to closed session 12 .41 pm.
Members noted correspondence from the Minister informing the Committee of the identity of the fourth member of the review panel.
Date, venue and time of next meeting.
The Committee agreed that the next meeting be held on Wednesday 4 July 2007 at 10.00am in Room 144.
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.44 pm.
Signed: Jim Wells MLA
Deputy Chairperson, Committee for Regional Development.