COMMITTEE FOR REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT
MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS
WEDNESDAY 7 OCTOBER 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)
Aidan Stennett (Assembly Research)
Members decided to commence the meeting at 10.40 am in open session.
Apologies are detailed above.
Members noted papers which were tabled for consideration later in the meeting.
Members noted that a request for the information held by the Committee relating to its consideration of the outline business case for public transport reform had been received and that the organisations who had provided papers had been contacted and were content for these to be released. Members decided that the Assembly Research paper prepared for the Committee; the written submissions received from the Department for Regional Development (DRD); the Consumer Council; the Federation of Passenger Transport Northern Ireland and Translink will be issued, together with the Committee’s interim response to DRD.
Members decided that as a matter of routine, Assembly Research papers prepared for the Committee; Committee responses on substantive issues; written submissions received from witnesses to accompany oral briefings and the Official Report of evidence heard by the Committee will be published on the Assembly website, after they have been considered by the Committee.
2. Draft Minutes of Meeting held on 30 September 2009
Members agreed the minutes of the meeting held on 30 September 2009 for publication on the Assembly website.
3. Matters Arising.
Members updated the Committee on their individual experiences of travelling to the meeting using public transport as part of the Committee’s ‘travel to work’ event.
Members noted a response from DRD on pollution to rivers due to major road works. Members decided to forward the response to the River Faughan Anglers Ltd and to the Committee for the Environment.
Members noted a response from DRD to the Northern Ireland Multiple Deprivation Measure 2009 consultation document. Members noted that the Committee had also requested a critical evaluation of the consultation document from Assembly Research, which will need to be considered before responding to the Committee for Finance and Personnel by the deadline of 6 November 2009.
Members noted Translink’s comments on the Assembly Research paper on the outline business case for public transport reform. Members decided to forward the comments to Assembly Research and to request research on EU 1370/07.
Members noted correspondence from the Committee for the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister (COFMDFM) on the draft Sustainable Development Strategy. Members decided to forward the correspondence to DRD for comment, before considering a response to COFMDFM.
Members agreed a response to COFMDFM on the proposed Disability Discrimination (Transport) Regulations.
Members agreed a response to DRD on the Department’s performance in the first quarter of 2009/10 against targets in Public Service Agreements and the Department’s Efficiency Delivery Plan.
4. Committee Stage of the Water and Sewerage Services (Amendment) Bill
Members were briefed on a Bill paperprovided byAssembly Research. Members decided to request further information from Assembly Research on the issue of the treatment of VAT.
Members agreed a revised timetable, with minor adjustments in scheduling, for the Committee Stage of the Bill and noted that this will be sent to the Assembly’s Bill Office and to DRD for information.
Members agreed a motion seeking an extension to the Committee Stage of the Bill to reflect the timetable agreed by the Committee
5. Roads Service Policy for Abandoning Roads and Footways
Members considered a written submission from DRD Roads Service on its policy for abandoning roads and footways. Members decided to request an Assembly Research paper on this policy area before deciding on how to take this forward.
6. Subordinate Legislation
Members noted the following proposals to make subordinate legislation from DRD:
- The Loading Bays and Parking Places on Roads (Amendment No 3) Order ( Northern Ireland) 2009;
- The Waiting Restrictions (Downpatrick) Order ( Northern Ireland) 2009;
- The Parking Places on Roads (Cookstown) Order ( Northern Ireland) 2009;
- The Devonshire Way, Belfast (Abandonment) Order ( Northern Ireland) 2009;
- The Parking Places on Roads (Kesh) Order ( Northern Ireland) 2009;
- The Park Drive/Hamilton Road, Bangor (Abandonment) Order ( Northern Ireland) 2010;
- The Seahill Road, Holywood (Abandonment) Order ( Northern Ireland) 2009;
- The Roads (Motorway M1 and Westlink A12) (Speed Limits and Variable Speed Limits) Order ( Northern Ireland) 2009; and
- The Waiting Restrictions (Markethill) Order ( Northern Ireland) 2009.
Members noted that, in relation to The Devonshire Way, Belfast (Abandonment) Order ( Northern Ireland) 2009, the Department will dispose of the land to the Northern Ireland Housing Executive for inclusion in a proposed new development. Members agreed to write to DRD to determine how much the Department will receive for the disposal.
Members noted that The Park Drive/Hamilton Road, Bangor (Abandonment) Order ( Northern Ireland) 2010 has been requested by the owner of No. 42 Hamilton Road, who wishes to acquire the land for use for car parking to service a development being planned for the residence. Members noted that an objection has been received from Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE), which has plant in the vicinity and that the developer is in contact with both NIE and British Telecom (which also has plant in the vicinity) to make arrangements for the removal and relocation of their plant. Members noted that, if NIE does not withdraw its objection, the Department is required to hold a public inquiry before an abandonment can proceed.
Members noted that The Seahill Road, Holywood (Abandonment) Order ( Northern Ireland) 2009 has been requested by the owner of No.12 Seahill Road, who wishes to incorporate the land into the garden of a proposed new dwelling.
Members agreed to inform DRD that they were content with the policy merits of the following proposals to make subordinate legislation:
- The Giant’s Causeway, Bushmills (Footpath) (Abandonment) Order ( Northern Ireland) 2010; and
- The Prohibition of Right-Hand Turn ( Knockwood Park Belfast) Order ( Northern Ireland) 2009.
Members noted correspondence from the Committee for Finance and Personnel on the general progress of the implementation of departmental efficiency plans from April 2008 – September 2008.
Members noted correspondence from COFMDFM seeking comment on the Priorities for European Engagement Report 2008/09. Members decided to forward the report to DRD for comment on any issues relevant to the Department, before considering a response to COFMDFM.
Members noted an acknowledgement from the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister of the Committee’s submission to the consultation on the removal of the exemption for operators of transport services from Part III of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.
Members noted an invitation from the Committee for Finance and Personnel to a stakeholder conference on 21 October 2009, in relation to that Committee’s Inquiry into the public procurement process in Northern Ireland. As this clashed with the normal Committee meeting, Members decided that they would inform the Clerk should they wish to attend the afternoon session of the conference.
Members noted receipt of the following reports:
- DRD Roads Service Annual Report and Accounts 2008-2009; and
- DRD Roads Service Travel Survey for Northern Ireland 2006-2008.
Members noted receipt of the following press releases:
- DRD News Release – New winter gritting arrangements for rural schools. Emailed to Members on 28 September 2009.
- DRD News Release - Regional Development Minister presents new student bursary awards. Emailed to Members on 30 September 2009.
8. Any Other Business
Members agreed a revised forward work programme and agreed that this will be published on the Assembly website in future as a matter of routine.
9. Accessible Transport Strategy Action Plan – Briefing from the Department for Regional Development
The Committee was briefed by Alan Preston; Gavin Hamilton and Tony McConnell from DRD on the outcome of the public consultation on the Accessible Transport Strategy Action Plan 2009 - 2012.
Members decided that a draft response to DRD on this issue will be considered at next week’s meeting.
Members decided that the draft Research report on the engagement event held in June 2009 on Ensuring an Accessible Transport System in Northern Ireland will be finalised and an embargoed copy sent to DRD and to the Inclusive Mobility and Transport Advisory Committee (IMTAC).
10. Date, Time and Place of Next Meeting
The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, 14 October 2009 at 10.30 am in Room 21, Parliament Buildings.
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.00 pm.