COMMITTEE FOR REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT
MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS
Wednesday 12 December 2007
Room 144 parliament buildings
Fred Cobain MLA (Chairperson)
Cathal Boylan MLA
Willie Clarke MLA
John Dallat MLA
William Irwin MLA
John McCallister MLA
Raymond McCartney MLA
George Robinson MLA
Jim Wells MLA
Brian Wilson MLA
Roisin Kelly (Assembly Clerk)
Clairita Frazer (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Pauline Devlin (Clerical Supervisor)
Annette Page (Clerical Officer)
Stephen Moutray MLA
The meeting opened at 10.40am in public session.
Apologies were received from Stephen Moutray.
John McCallister and Cathal Boylan joined the meeting at 10.42am.
2. Chairperson’s Business.
- Members noted a letter from the Department for Regional Development setting out the Minister’s plans to consult on the equality aspects on the draft Budget, draft ISNI and draft Programme for Government. Members also noted the paper issued by the Department on its website for this consultation process. Members agreed to seek clarification from the Minister on the following questions:
- What is the purpose of this consultation process, and how does it differ from the ongoing public consultation process?
- How were the consultation locations identified and decided upon, and where in Belfast is the location of the Spires Conference Centre?
- Can the Minister set out how, within the limited time available, the responses from the consultation process will be collated, analysed and reflected in the final budget?
- How and in what format the Minister plans to involve and consult the Committee on the outcome of the public consultation process prior to its discussion with the Executive as part of the finalisation process for the Budget, Programme for Government and Investment Strategy?
- The Committee decided that it must see the response to this consultation before it is fed into the final budget and would request briefing from the Minister and/or senior officials on this.
- Members agreed to write to the Minister on the points in the draft letter tabled today.
J im Wells took the Chair at 10.59am.
Fred Cobain left the meeting at 10.59am.
William Irwin joined the meeting at 10.59am.
- Members agreed that the Clerk, accompanied by the Deputy Chairperson would undertake the study trip to the Netherlands to view tram, bus based and light rail rapid transit systems and visit a production line for a bus based rapid transit vehicle. This visit will inform the Committee on the suitability of the location for a future Committee visit.
- Members agreed to hold the Committee meeting of 16 th January 2008 in the Park Plaza Hotel combined with a visit to Belfast International Airport. Members agreed to inform the Committee Clerk if they wished to avail of the minibus provided on the day and to bring photographic identification with them to gain entry to the airport area. A note will be issued by the Committee office with specific details including maps and directions in the coming weeks.
- Members noted the indicative timings for the finalised Budget which is anticipated in late January or early February 2008.
3. Draft minutes of the Committee meeting on 5 December 2007.
The minutes of the meeting on 5 December 2007 were agreed.
4. Matters Arising.
- Members noted the letter from the Department for Regional Development informing the Committee of the Minister’s proposal to issue a paper notifying the Executive of his intention to consult with the Irish Government on joint funding for City of Derry airport (CODA). Members agreed to request additional briefing from the Department on this subject.
- Members noted a briefing memo from the Clerk on the Planning Policy Document ‘Control of Development in Airport Public Safety Zones’ and agreed to request further briefing from the Department and a copy of a map of the PSZ for George Best City Airport together with the response Belfast City Council made to the original consultation.
- Members noted a letter and timetable from the Minister on the proposed timing and handling of the Independent Water Review Panel’s Strand Two report. Members noted the procedure which will be utilised for distribution of the report to Members.
- Members agreed to hold an additionalCommittee meeting on 14 th January 2008 to discuss the Strand Two report from the Independent Panel on Water and Sewerage. Members will inform the Clerk of their availability to attend this meeting. Members agreed to invite the Independent Panel, Northern Ireland Water, the Utility Regulator and the General Consumer Council to the meeting on 14 th January 2008 to brief the Committee.
- Members also agreed to hold additional meetings on 15 th and 17 th January 2008 to discuss the Strand Two report from the Independent Panel on Water and Sewerage.
- Members noted the summary of the recent domestic metering workshop hosted by the Utility Regulator along with presentations made on the day. Members agreed to return to this as part of their consideration of the issues outstanding from the Strand One and the Strand Two reports.
5. Briefing from Departmental officials on Speed Management Policy.
Departmental officials; Bob Cairns and John Irvine, joined the meeting at 11.30am.
The officials from the Department for Regional Development briefed the Committee on preliminary issues arising from the forthcoming Review of Speed Management Policy.
Members noted the Clerk’s briefing note and additional binder on Speed Management and agreed to return to this matter at a future Committee meeting in line with the agreed handling plan.
The Departmental officials left the meeting at 12.11pm.
6. Committee response to the Review of Ports Policy.
The Committee discussed the draft letter to the Minister for Regional Development paragraph by paragraph and agreed to forward a revised response to the Minister.
7. Subordinate Legislation.
Members noted the revised brief on subordinate legislation.
Members were content with the following SL1s noted at the meeting of 5 December 2007:
- The Cycle Routes (Amendment) Order ( Northern Ireland) 2008;
- The B3 Plantation Road and Clare Road, Craigavon (Abandonment) Order ( Northern Ireland) 2008;
- The Parking Places on Roads (Carrickfergus) Order ( Northern Ireland) 2008;
- The Roads (Speed Limit) Order ( Northern Ireland) 2008;
- The Waiting Restrictions ( Eglantine Avenue, Belfast) Order ( Northern Ireland) 2008; and
- The Prohibition of Traffic (The Mount and Willowfield, Belfast) (Amendment) Order ( Northern Ireland) 2008.
Members noted the following new SL1s received:
- The Parking Places on Roads (Enniskillen) Order ( Northern Ireland) 2008 and The Taxis (Enniskillen) (Revocation) Bye-Laws ( Northern Ireland) 2008.
- The Trunk Road T10 (Cherrymount Link, Enniskillen) Order ( Northern Ireland) 2008.
Members noted receipt of the following Statutory Rules which are not subject to any Assembly procedure:
- 2007/491 The Cycle Routes (Amendment No.5) Order ( Northern Ireland) 2007;
- 2007/492 The Bus Lane ( Ormeau Road, Belfast) Order ( Northern Ireland) 2007; and
- 2007/493 The Cycle Routes (Amendment No.6) Order ( Northern Ireland) 2007.
Members noted the following Statutory Rules subject to negative resolution. The Examiner of Statutory Rules will forward his report before the end of the statutory period.
- 2007/487 The C554 Greencastle Road, Greencastle (Abandonment) Order ( Northern Ireland) 2007; and
- 2007/489 The C560 Aughrim Road, Magherafelt (Abandonment) Order ( Northern Ireland) 2007.
Members noted receipt of the following items of correspondence:
- Letter dated 11 December 2007 from the Department for Regional Development responding to a number of issues raised both by the Committee and the Committee Clerk. Members noted paragraphs 4 to 12 which outline the changing role of DRD in relation to energy policy. Members noted in particular paragraph 14 which discusses Departmental responsibility for planning policy.
- Letter dated 5 December 2007 from Kevin Monaghan, Deputy Divisional Roads Manager responding to a request for a pedestrian crossing on Finaghy Road South by The Road Safety Group at Finaghy Youth Centre. Members noted that this is an interim response, and Roads Service will be writing to the Committee on this matter in the coming weeks.
- Article dated 10 December 2007 discussing the future of the Larne and Londonderry railways.
- Article dated 10 December 2007 considering the feasibility of a rapid transit system in Belfast.
- Article dated 11 December 2007 assessing the effects of the declining roads maintenance budget.
- Article dated 11 December 2007 considering the impact of the road network on Belfast International Airport
George Robinson left the meeting at 12.43pm.
9. Any Other Business.
The Deputy Chairperson wished Members a Happy Christmas and New Year.
10. Date, venue and time of next meeting.
The next meeting will be in Parliament Buildings in Room 144 at 10.30am on Wednesday 9 January 2008.
The Deputy Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.47pm.