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Present: Michelle McIlveen MLA (Deputy Chairperson)
Cathal Boylan MLA
Allan Bresland MLA
Tommy Gallagher MLA
Danny Kinahan MLA
Raymond McCartney MLA
Ian McCrea MLA
George Robinson MLA
Brian Wilson MLA

In Attendance: Roisin Kelly (Assembly Clerk)
Colin Jones (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Andrew Larmour (Clerical Supervisor)
Alison Ferguson (Clerical Officer)

Apologies: Fred Cobain MLA (Chairperson)
Willie Clarke MLA

The meeting commenced at 10.46 am in open session.

1. Apologies.

Apologies are detailed above.

Members noted papers which were tabled for consideration later in the meeting.

2. Draft Minutes of Meeting held on 7 October 2009

Agreed: for publication on the Assembly’s website.

3. Matters Arising.

Members considered a response from the Department for Regional Development (DRD) on half-fare concessionary travel.

Agreed: that DRD’s response will be forwarded to Mr Lee Wilson, who had originally raised the issue with the Committee, and that an oral briefing from DRD officials on this issue will be scheduled in the Committee’s forward work programme.

Members noted information from the Committee for the Environment on the outcome of the consultation on river basin management plans.

Members considered correspondence from the Public Hire Coalition, raising concerns about public hire taxis in Belfast.

Agreed: that the issues raised will be forwarded to DRD, requesting information on the actions taken to address those concerns which are within the remit of the Department.

Members noted a response from DRD outlining the Department’s role in taking forward port master plans.

Members considered a response from DRD to issues raised with the Committee by CCS Surveying.

Agreed: that the response will be forwarded to CCS Surveying.

4. Committee Stage of the Water and Sewerage Services (Amendment) Bill 2009

Members noted clarification from Assembly Research in relation to the VAT figures contained in the research paper considered by the Committee at last week’s meeting.

The Committee took evidence from Antoinette McKeown; Kathy Graham and Graham Smith from the Consumer Council. The session was recorded by Hansard. The Consumer Council stated that it was content with the clauses in the Bill and did not wish to propose any amendments.

The Committee took evidence from Mark Ellesmere; Michael Mulholland and Pat McParland from Northern Ireland Water (NIW). The session was recorded by Hansard. NIW stated that it was content with the clauses in the Bill and did not wish to propose any amendments.

Agreed: that NIW officials will provide a written response to issues raised by the Committee during the evidence session.

Members noted correspondence from the Northern Ireland Authority for Utility Regulation relating to the Committee’s invitation to give evidence on the Bill.

5. Briefing on the Report of the Review of Structural Maintenance Funding

The Committee was briefed by Professor Martin Snaith and Andrew Murray from DRD Roads Service on the report on Professor Snaith’s Review of the Structural Maintenance Funding Requirements for Roads Service.

Members considered a draft press release on the issue of funding for structural maintenance.

Agreed: that the press release will issue, as amended.

Agreed: that the Committee will write to the Minister for Regional Development, requesting information on how Professor Snaith’s report will be taken forward.

6. Implications of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive for DRD

Members considered a written submission from DRD on the implications for the Department from the planned transposition of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

Agreed: that further information on the practical implications of the Directive, and the associated costs, will be requested from DRD and that the Department will also be asked to keep the Committee informed on the progress of the public consultation and the collaborative approach to implementation detailed in the written submission.

7. Quarterly Update from DRD on Land Identified for Abandonment and Disposal

Members noted an update from DRD on land identified for abandonment and disposal.

8. Committee Response on the Accessible Transport Strategy Action Plan

Members considered a draft response to DRD on the Accessible Transport Action Plan for 2009 – 2012.

Agreed: that the response, as amended, will be issued to DRD.

9. Subordinate Legislation

Members noted the following proposals to make subordinate legislation from DRD:

Members noted that the SL1 memos for the above proposals made no reference to them having been the subject of a public inquiry and that, with the exception of the Boilas Road (Abandonment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2010, the Department does not, at this time, anticipate the need for a public inquiry.

The Department has confirmed that the police service and relevant local councils affected by the above proposals have been informed and the Committee office has not received any comments from the relevant councils regarding these policy proposals. Members noted that Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE) has plant in the area of the proposed Boilas Road abandonment and has lodged an objection and that, if NIE does not withdraw this objection, the Department has indicated that a public inquiry will be required.

Agreed: that written briefing on the form of the local consultations undertaken in respect of the Trunk Road T14 (A55 Knock Road, Belfast) Order (Northern Ireland) 2009 and the Private Accesses at A55 Knock Road, Belfast (Stopping – Up) Order (Northern Ireland) 2009, together with an analysis of the issues raised, and an indication of how Roads Service reflected these concerns in moving to SL1 stage will be requested from DRD.

Members considered the following proposals to make subordinate legislation from DRD, which had been noted at the Committee meeting on 7 October 2009:

Agreed: that the Committee will write to DRD to inform the Department that the Committee is content with the policy merits of these SL1s.

Members considered an SL1 from DRD relating to the Park Drive/Hamilton Road, Bangor (Abandonment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2010, which had been noted by the Committee at its meeting on 7 October 2009. Members noted that an objection had been received from 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, DRD is required to hold a public inquiry before an abandonment can proceed.

Agreed: that the Committee will write to DRD to inform the Department that the Committee is content with the policy merits of this proposal, subject to the resolution of the objection received from NIE.

Members noted receipt of SR 2009/339 The Rathgael Road, Bangor (Abandonment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2009. Members noted that the Examiner of Statutory Rules will forward his report on this rule before the end of the statutory period, which is 11 November 2009.

10. Correspondence.

Members considered correspondence from the Committee for Finance and Personnel on the post project evaluations outstanding in each Department.

Agreed: that the Committee will write to DRD and to the Utility Regulator, seeking an explanation for the outstanding post project evaluations, together with a timescale for completion.

Members considered a proposal from NIW to brief the Committee on its work to improve water balance data.

Agreed: that an informal briefing in Parliament Buildings will be scheduled for 12 noon on Monday 19 October 2009.

Members noted a newsletter from the Belfast Metropolitan College.

11. Any Other Business

Members considered a revised forward work programme for the Committee.

Agreed: that this will be published on the Assembly website.

12. Date, Time and Place of Next Meeting

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, 21 October 2009 at 10.30 am in Room 21, Parliament Buildings.

The Deputy Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 12.37 pm.

Michelle McIlveen, MLA.
Deputy Chairperson, Committee for Regional Development.
21 October 2009

7 October 09 / Menu