COMMITTEE FOR REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT
MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS
WEDNESDAY 16 SEPTEMBER 2009
SENATE CHAMBER, PARLIAMENT BUILDINGS
Fred Cobain MLA (Chairperson)
Michelle McIlveen MLA (Deputy Chairperson)
Cathal Boylan MLA
Allan Bresland MLA
Willie Clarke MLA
Tommy Gallagher MLA
Danny Kinahan MLA
Raymond McCartney MLA
Ian McCrea MLA
George Robinson MLA
Brian Wilson MLA
Roisin Kelly (Assembly Clerk)
Colin Jones (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Andrew Larmour (Clerical Supervisor)
Alison Ferguson (Clerical Officer)
Denis Arnold (Assembly Bill Office)
Members decided to commence the meeting at 10.42 am in open session.
Apologies are detailed above.
Members noted papers which were tabled for consideration later in the meeting.
The Chairperson informed the Committee that Mr McCrea had replaced Mr Ross as a Committee Member and welcomed Mr McCrea to his first meeting. Members noted Mr McCrea’s declaration of interests.
Members agreed that the evidence from Department for Regional Development (DRD) officials on the Water and Sewerage Services (Amendment) Bill and the evidence from representatives from Translink; the Federation of Passenger Transport Northern Ireland and the Consumer Council on the proposals for Public Transport Reform will be recorded by Hansard and the Official Reports published on the Assembly website.
2. Draft Minutes of Meeting held on 9 September 2009.
Members agreed the minutes of the meeting held on 9 September 2009 for publication on the Assembly website.
3. Matters Arising.
Members noted a DRD report on the Use of Bus Lanes and that the private hire companies were to be offered a meeting with DRD officials to discuss the report. Members noted that, as agreed last week, further clarification had been sought from the Public Hire Coalition, as to whether their concerns in relation to taxis in Belfast were within the Committee’s remit. Members noted that the Coalition will detail these concerns in a written submission to the Committee. Members agreed to request information on the outcome of the meeting between DRD officials and the private hire companies and to consider the submission from the Public Hire Coalition, once received, to determine a way forward.
Members noted that, at last week’s meeting, the Committee had considered an invitation from the European Commission to visit the Commission and the European Parliament in Brussels and that Members had agreed to consult their respective parties, before considering the invitation again at this week’s meeting. Members agreed that, as Mr Boylan was the only Committee member who was potentially available, in his absence, he would be asked to represent the Committee on the visit, subject to his availability.
Members noted that, in relation to the Committee visit to Rathlin Island, a member of Committee staff had visited the facilities on Rathlin and concluded that they would not be suitable for a formal Committee meeting. Members agreed that, following a short tour, an informal meeting will be held in the Manor House Hotel on Rathlin, and that residents on Rathlin will be invited to meet the Committee in an informal environment. Members agreed to travel individually to Ballycastle by 9.15am on 23 September 2009, to take the ferry to Rathlin and agreed that details of the meeting will be publicised on Rathlin. Mr Clarke requested overnight accommodation in Ballycastle on the evening prior to the visit.
Members noted that finalised arrangements for the ‘travel to work’ event on 7 October 2009 will be available for the meeting on 30 September 2009.
Members agreed that the meeting on 7 October 2009 will be held in the Senate Chamber.
Members agreed that arrangements for Committee representation at the conference on the future of public transport on 28 October 2009 will be finalised at the meeting on 30 September 2009.
Members agreed that they were content with the information held on their attendance at meetings of the Committee for Regional Development in 2008/09, which will be published on the Assembly’s website.
Mr McCrea left the meeting at 10.55 am.
4. Water and Sewerage Services (Amendment) Bill
The Committee took evidence from John Mills; Paul McKenna and Ian Maxwell from DRD on the Water and Sewerage Services (Amendment) Bill, prior to its introduction in the Assembly. The session was recorded by Hansard.
Mr Boylan joined the meeting at 11.07 am.
The meeting continued in closed session at 11.25 am.
The Committee was briefed by the Assembly Bill Office on the Committee Stage of the Water and Sewerage Services (Amendment) Bill. Members agreed to schedule a further meeting at 10.00am on Tuesday 22 September 2009 to discuss the general principles of the Bill and a possible timetable for the Committee Stage.
The meeting continued in open session at 11.45 am.
5. Outline Business Case for Public Transport Reform
Members noted that the Northern Ireland Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (NIC ICTU) had indicated that it was not in a position to provide written or oral briefing to the Committee at this stage, but would submit its views to the Committee during the public consultation.
Mr McCrea joined the meeting at 11.53 am.
Mr Kinahan joined the meeting at 11.54 am.
The Committee took evidence from Catherine Mason; David Brown and Ciaran Rogan from Translink. The session was recorded by Hansard.
Mr McCartney joined the meeting at 12.09 pm.
The Committee took evidence from Karen Magill and Norma Smyth from the Federation of Passenger Transport Northern Ireland. The session was recorded by Hansard.
6. Outcome of Public Consultation on Ports Master Plans Guidance
The Committee considered a written submission from DRD on the outcome of the public consultation on the guidance on ports master plans. Members agreed to respond to the Department, indicating that they were content with the revised guidance and seeking clarification on the Department’s role, if any, in monitoring implementation of the guidance going forward.
7. Subordinate Legislation
Members noted the following proposals to make subordinate legislation from DRD:
- The Parking Places on Roads (Keady) Order ( Northern Ireland) 2009;
- The Parking Places on Roads (Lisburn) Order ( Northern Ireland) 2009;
- The Parking Places on Roads (Newry) (Amendment) Order ( Northern Ireland) 2009; and
- The Bus Lane ( Crumlin Road, Belfast) Order ( Northern Ireland) 2009.
Members agreed to inform DRD that they were content with the policy merits of the following proposals to make subordinate legislation, subject to the resolution of Northern Ireland Electricity’s objections prior to the rules being made:
- The Cusher Road (U8048) and Glenanne Road (C313), Loughgilly (Abandonment) Order ( Northern Ireland) 2009; and
- The Belfast Road (A3), Dollingstown (Abandonment) Order ( Northern Ireland) 2009.
Members noted the following statutory rules which had been received from DRD but were not subject to Assembly procedure:
- 2009/280 The Bus Lane ( Glen Road, Belfast) Order ( Northern Ireland) 2009;
- 2009/281 The Parking Places and Loading Bays on Roads ( Glengall Street, Belfast) Order ( Northern Ireland) 2009;
- 2009/292 The Parking and Waiting Restrictions ( Belfast) (Amendment) Order ( Northern Ireland) 2009;
- 2009/ 283 The One-Way Traffic ( Belfast) (Amendment) Order ( Northern Ireland) 2009;
- 2009/284 The Cycle Lanes ( Glengall Street and Great Victoria Street, Belfast) Order ( Northern Ireland) 2009;
- 2009/285 The Roads (Speed Limit) (No.2) Order ( Northern Ireland) 2009;
- 2009/279 The Parking Places (Disabled Persons’ Vehicles) (Amendment No.5) Order ( Northern Ireland) 2009;
- 2009/290 The Off-Street Parking (Amendment) Order ( Northern Ireland) 2009;
- 2009/293 The Parking Places on Roads (Armagh) Order ( Northern Ireland) 2009; and
- 2009/299 The Waiting Restrictions (Newry) (Amendment No.2) Order ( Northern Ireland) 2009.
Members noted the following statutory rules which had been laid in the Assembly’s Business Office by DRD and were subject to the negative resolution procedure:
- 2009/291 The Glencam Road, Omagh (Abandonment) Order ( Northern Ireland) 2009;
- 2009/292 The Street Works (Inspection Fees) (Amendment) Regulations ( Northern Ireland) 2009; and
- 2009/301 The T6 Land Frontier-Aughnacloy-Ballygawley-Eniskillen-Belcoo-Land Frontier Trunk Road Order ( Northern Ireland) 2009.
Members noted that t he Report from the Examiner of Statutory Rules on the above legislation will be published before the end of the statutory period of 13 October 2009.
Members noted correspondence from CCS Surveying and decided to forward the correspondence to DRD for comment, before considering how to proceed.
Members noted correspondence from DRD on the review of the Inclusive Mobility and Transport Advisory Committee (IMTAC) and noted that DRD will inform the Committee of the outcome of the review, which is to be completed by the end of the year.
Members noted a request from the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure on revenue raised from the proceeds of crime and decided to forward the request to DRD.
Members noted a request from Alastair Ross, MLA for any information received by the Committee in relation to the A8 project to be forwarded to him. Members decided that they were content with this arrangement.
Members noted receipt of the following invitations:
- Seminar on ‘ Northern Ireland and the Transition to a Sustainable Economy’ on 29 September 2009;
- Official opening of Project Alpha at Dunore Point Water Treatment Works on 16 September 2009;
- Launch of the Utility Regulator’s Annual Report 2008-09 on 14 October 2009; and
- ‘Project & Programme Management 2009 – Delivering Best Practice’ on 2 December 2009 .
Members considered an invitation to the launch of Bryson Charitable Group’s Annual Review on 28 September 2009 and decided that the Chairperson will attend.
Members noted receipt of the following press releases:
- DRD News Release – Official launch of new Rathlin Express, 9 September 2009.
Members noted receipt of the following reports:
- Consumer Council, Annual Report 2008 – 2009.
Members noted receipt of the following newsletters:
- British Medical Association ( Northern Ireland), August 2009; and
- IMTAC, Transport Matters, August 2009.
The Chairperson suspended the meeting at 12.35pm.
The Deputy Chairperson reconvened the meeting at 1.05 pm in open session.
Present: Ms McIlveen; Mr Boylan; Mr Bresland; Mr Clarke; Mr McCartney; Mr McCrea; Mr Robinson; and Mr Wilson.
9. Outline Business Case for Public Transport Reform
Mr Gallagher joined the meeting at 1.20 pm.
The Committee took evidence from Antoinette McKeown and Ryan Simpson from the Consumer Council. The session was recorded by Hansard.
Members decided that a copy of the Assembly Research paper, on which the Committee was briefed last week, will be forwarded to members of the Stakeholders Forum and to NIC ICTU.
Members decided that the Committee’s response to DRD on the Outline Business Case for Public Transport Reform will be considered at the meeting on 30 September 2009.
Mr Robinson left the meeting at 1.35 pm.
10. Any Other Business
Members decided that they were content with the draft end of session report for 2008-09, subject to any grammatical or typographical amendments, which would be cleared by the Chairperson. Members noted that the financial information for inclusion in the report will be issued to Members later today for consideration and clearance via correspondence.
Members agreed to schedule a short briefing from Carson McDowell Solicitors on 30 September 2009, on plans for a runway expansion at George Best Belfast City Airport.
Members noted an offer from Northern Ireland Water (NIW) to brief the Committee on its Annual Report and Accounts for 2008-09 in advance of publication. Members decided that an informal briefing will be arranged for a sitting day, prior to publication of the Report.
Members noted that both NIW and DRD’s Rapid Transit Division had offered background briefing for new Committee Members and decided that Members should contact the Committee Office to arrange briefing should they wish to avail of the offer.
Members noted details of the bursary scheme agreed between the Assembly and Queens University and decided that they were content to host a bursary student from Queens in the Committee Office from September 2009 to May 2010.
Members noted details of an informal briefing for Committee Members from the Utility Regulator on the Price Control Draft Determination for NIW for 2010 to 2013, which would take place on 17 September 2009.
Members noted a report prepared by Assembly Research on the event on accessible transport held on 26 June 2009. Members decided to consider the report further on 30 September 2009.
Members decided to write to NIW to request details of the policy for the effective and efficient emptying of septic tanks.
Members decided to request details from DRD on the extent to which the Department currently uses the local post office network and the potential to increase this linkage.
The DeputyChairperson adjourned the meeting at 1.50pm.
11. Date, Time and Place of Next Meeting
The next meeting will be held on Tuesday, 22 September 2009 at 10.00 am in Room 152, Parliament Buildings.