COMMITTEE FOR REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT
MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS
WEDNESDAY 21 OCTOBER 2009
ROOM 21, 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)
The meeting commenced at 10.35 am in open session.
Apologies are detailed above.
Members noted papers which were tabled for consideration later in the meeting.
2. Draft Minutes of Meeting held on 14 October 2009
Agreed : for publication on the Assembly’s website.
Mr McCartney joined the meeting at 10.40 am.
3. Committee Stage of the Water and Sewerage Services (Amendment) Bill 2009
Mr Robinson joined the meeting at 10.45 am.
The Committee took evidence from the Minister for Regional Development, Conor Murphy, MP, MLA and from Andrew Grieve, Lian Patterson and John Mills from DRD. The session was recorded by Hansard.
Members noted correspondence from the Committee for Finance and Personnel stating that it had agreed not to make a submission to the Committee Stage of the Bill.
Members noted correspondence from the Department of Finance and Personnel, accepting the Committee’s invitation to give oral evidence on the Bill. Members noted that the evidence session had been indicatively scheduled for 11 November 2009.
4. Matters Arising
Members noted that a briefing from DRD officials on the outcome of the consultation on rapid transit had been included in the Committee’s work programme for early 2010.
Members noted correspondence from DRD, stating that, following the Committee’s consideration of the SL1 on the College Park/College Park East, Belfast (Abandonment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2009, the objections raised by Cable and Wireless and Phoenix Gas had been withdrawn.
Members noted a response from DRD on the extent to which the Department and its associated bodies currently use the local post office network.
Members noted a response from Northern Ireland Water (NIW) on the recent pollution incident on the Shimna River.
Members noted information from DRD relating to progress on the Trunk Road T8 Orders (Randalstown to Toome and Toome to Castledawson).
Agreed: that an oral briefing from DRD officials will be scheduled for 4 November 2009.
Members noted correspondence from the Committee for the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister (COFMDFM) on the Executive’s European Engagement Action Plan 2009/10.
Members considered a response from DRD to issues raised with the Committee by Mr G Di Maio, in relation to water billing disputes.
Agreed : that the Committee will write to Mr Di Maio informing him of the latest developments and will also request information from DRD on the indicative timetable for resolving the issue of overall responsibility for handling billing disputes.
5. Public Transport Reform: Regulation EU/1370/2007
Members noted an Assembly Research paper on Regulation EU/1370/2007 in the context of state aid and fare regulation.
Agreed: that the Research paper will be considered when the Committee is briefed on the outcome of the public consultation on the outline business case for public transport reform by DRD officials.
6. DRD Update on Translink Performance against 2009/10 Business Plan
Members noted a written submission from DRD on the main financial issues facing Translink and the organisation’s performance to date against key performance indicators in its Business Plan for 2009/10.
Agreed: that the Committee will write to DRD, seeking further information on the decline in passenger numbers and stressing the need to protect existing fares and service levels.
7. Committee Response on Draft Sustainable Development Strategy
Members considered a draft response to COFMDFM on the draft Sustainable Development Strategy.
Agreed: that the response will be issued to COFMDFM and that the Committee will make a more detailed response as part of the public consultation on the draft Strategy which will begin shortly.
Agreed: that Assembly Research will be asked for a briefing paper on the draft Strategy.
8. Subordinate Legislation
Members noted the following proposals to make subordinate legislation from DRD:
- The Cycle Routes (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland) (2010);
- The Waiting Restrictions (Banbridge) Order (Northern Ireland) 2010; and
- The Parking and Waiting Restrictions (Ballymoney) (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2010.
Members noted that the SL1 memos from DRD on the above proposals made no reference to them having been the subject of a public inquiry and that DRD does not, at this time, anticipate the need for a public inquiry. Members noted that DRD had 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 considered the following proposals to make subordinate legislation from DRD , which had been noted at the Committee meeting on 14 October 2009:
- The Ballynamony Lane, Lurgan (Abandonment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2010;
- The Parking Places (Disabled Persons’ Vehicles) (Amendment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2010;
- 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.
Members noted that, at last week’s meeting, the Committee had requested written briefing from DRDon 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 DRD Roads Service reflected these concerns in moving to SL1 stage.
Members considered a response from DRD on these issues.
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 the proposed Boilas Road (Abandonment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2010, which had been noted at the meeting of 14 October 2009. 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, DRD has indicated that a public inquiry will be required.
Agreed: that the Committee will write to DRD to inform the Department that it is content with the policy merits of the Boilas Road (Abandonment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2010, subject to the resolution of the objection lodged by NIE, prior to the making of the rule.
Members considered SR 2009/330 The Rathgael Road, Bangor (Abandonment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2009 which had been laid in the Assembly’s Business Office by DRD and was subject to the negative resolution procedure. Members noted that the Examiner of Statutory Rules, in his third report to the Assembly for 2009/10, had made no comments on this rule.
In the absence of any objections, the following question was put and agreed:
‘That the Committee for Regional Development has considered SR 2009/330: The Rathgael Road, Bangor (Abandonment) Order (Northern Ireland) 2009 and has no objection to the rule?’
All those in favour: Cathal Boylan, Allan Bresland, Willie Clarke, Fred Cobain, Tommy Gallagher, Danny Kinahan, Raymond McCartney, Ian McCrea, Michelle McIlveen, George Robinson, Brian Wilson.
Those against: None
Members noted that the Assembly Business Office and DRD will be informed of the outcome of the Committee’s consideration of this statutory rule.
Members consideredcorrespondence from the Committee for Finance and Personnel on the reporting of performance against Public Service Agreement targets for 2008/09.
Agreed : that a response will be requested from DRD, as to whether there are any discrepancies between the performance reporting systems within DRD and those used for the End-Year Delivery Report published by the Office of the First Minster and deputy First Minister.
Members considered correspondence from the Department for Enterprise, Trade and Investment, inviting comments on the recent report on the review of Northern Ireland’s economic policy.
Agreed: that, as the review is outside the Committee’s remit, Members can respond on an individual basis.
Members noted statements from NIW on the following:
- Discharge from Portaferry Terminal Pumping System on 9 October 2009;
- Flooding in Belfast on 9 October 2009; and
- Interruption to the Water Supply in Eglinton on 14 October 2009.
Members noted the following newsletters:
- Agenda NI (October 2009);
- NIRTA News (September/October 2009); and
- Equality Commission (October 2009).
Members noted the following news release from DRD:
- Progress on £6.3 Million Investment in Down.
Members noted the following invitations:
- Systems Thinking in the Public Sector: Solutions not Slogans. Advice NI Seminar, Thursday 3 December 2009, Stormont Hotel, Belfast;
- What Future for Social and Affordable Housing – CPPS Seminars, Friday 4 December 2009, Royal Commonwealth Society, London;
- Anti-Racist Workplace Week – Equality Commission, 19-23 October 2009;
- Open Cities, - 22 October 2009 Victoria Square Belfast;
- Green Housing Seminar – Northern Ireland Assembly and Business Trust, 6 November 2009, Excite Exhibition & Display, Lisburn;
- Investing in the Future – Utility Regulator, 19 November 2009, Linenhall Library Belfast; and
- RSPB NI Futurescapes Seminar, 8 December 2009, Ulster Museum Belfast.
- Agreed: that Members will contact the Committee office if they wish to attend any of these events.
Members noted the following reports:
- Northern Ireland Road and Rail Transport Statistics, April – June 2009; and
- Northern Ireland Water Annual Report 2008/2009.
10. Any Other Business
Members considereda revised forward work programme for the Committee.
Agreed: that this will be published on the Assembly website.
Agreed: that potential locations for meetings outside Parliament Buildings will be considered at the next meeting.
Members noted that the Committee office had received a request for the DRD written submission to support the oral briefing to the Committee on the Review of Winter Service on 30 September 2009.
Agreed : that this will be issued as requested.
11. Date, Time and Place of Next Meeting
The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, 4 November 2009 at 10.30 am in Room 21, Parliament Buildings.
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 11.42am.