Assembly News (Sep 10) 6 March 2012
By Seán Kelly, Policy Officer, NIEL
Answers to Written Questions
Department of Agriculture and Rural Development
Badger Cull to Prevent the Spread of Bovine TB (23 July)
In response to a question on the possibility of a badger cull in Northern Ireland, the Minister responded that research involving badger culling elsewhere presents a mixed picture of its cost benefit and effectiveness in reducing disease levels in cattle. The Minister revealed that ‘it would appear that the cost exceeds the benefit by 2–3 times’ adding that therefore ‘there are no plans for any cull of badgers here’.
European Common Fisheries Policy (23 July)
Regarding the approximate market value of cod, haddock and whiting landed that had to be thrown overboard as it was below or above minimum landing, the Minister stated that fish that are caught and discarded subsequently because they are below the minimum landing have no market value because they cannot be legally landed or sold. However the market value of the 2008/9 discard estimates for fish above minimum landing is as follows:
| ||Tonnes ||Avg. price kg||Value |
|Cod ||0.6 ||£2.00 ||£1,200 |
|Haddock ||2.0 ||£1.50 ||£3,000 |
|Whiting ||17.8 ||£1.25 ||£22,500 |
Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment
Electricity from Renewable Sources (23 July)
Minister Foster detailed the percentage and quantity of electricity generated from wind in each of the last three years as follows:
|For the 12 months ending ||% Onshore wind||MW hours ( to nearest thousand) |
|March 2008 ||4.91 ||430,000 |
|March 2009 ||7.10 ||584,000 |
|March 2010 ||8.69 ||710,000 |
For the 12 months to March 2010, the total renewable electricity figure stood at 9.25%, of which the onshore wind element was 8.69%. The Minister added that she expects the current renewable electricity target of 12% by 2012 will be met.
Department of the Environment
Climate Change Act 2008 (23 July)
Minister Poots provided an update on the progress made by Departments, and their agencies, in fulfilling their obligations under the Climate Change Act 2008. On the obligation to provide a Northern Ireland Adaptation Programme, preparation of a UK wide sector–based risk assessment is progressing. This assessment will be the basis for the Northern Ireland Adaptation Programme. Sector stakeholders have already been contributing to the UK risk assessment process and a further workshop for Departments, their agencies and other organisations is planned to take place in September to consider the specific climate change impacts of most relevance to Northern Ireland. On our obligations to give views in relation to the UK response to the advice and annual reports of the Committee on Climate Change, gaining Executive agreement on these matters has enabled the Minister to provide on an annual basis the UK government with the agreed Northern Ireland position.
Likewise on obligations to provide views on the level of ambition in relation to UK carbon budgets and targets, the Minister has obtained Executive agreement to the UK carbon target for a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 80% in 2050 based on 1990 levels and the level of carbon budgets for carbon budget periods 2008–2012, 2013–2017 and 2018–2022.
In order to deliver against this agenda, the Minister recently reached agreement with the Executive to establish a Cross Departmental Working Group (CDWG) on greenhouse gas emissions. This development will ensure that those key departments which can deliver against the highest priority actions are fully signed up to the actions necessary to implement the climate change agenda and it will promote openness and transparency in the monitoring of these actions. The Minister added that the first task of the CDWG will be to prepare a cross–departmental action plan and make recommendations on the prioritisation of actions; a prioritisation which will reflect the contributions of different sectors to the production of greenhouse gas emissions and the potential to influence different types of emissions (i.e. the available policy ‘levers’). In response to subsequent question on climate change, the Minister revealed that to date his department has spent £225,340 in fulfilling its obligations, under the Climate Change Act 2008. The Minister also stated that he had no plans to introduce statutory carbon budgets for councils in the current Assembly.
Department of the Environment
Recycle Glass Products (23 July)
In terms of how many of the 26 local councils allow households to recycle glass products in their recycling bins, the Minister revealed that presently nine local councils provide a kerbside glass recycling collection scheme. In some of these councils the service is available to all households whilst in others there is partial coverage. Overall, currently 28% of all households in Northern Ireland have a kerbside glass collection service. The Minister outlined a range of initiatives his Department is taking forward to help councils in their efforts to boost recycling of key waste streams including glass. These initiatives include: the Rethink Waste Fund which will provide an initial £3.13m capital funding to councils to bring forward initiatives to boost recycling of a range of waste streams including glass; and the £1m funding provided by DoE each year to the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) to provide advice and support to local councils on a range of recycling issues including advice on establishing glass recycling collection systems. The Minister added that he has also asked his officials to commence work on a draft recycling policy which will consider the potential to recycle more of key waste streams, the potential to produce higher quality recyclates and the interventions necessary to bring this about. It is anticipated that the draft policy will be issued for consultation in the autumn.
Department For Social Development
Boiler Scrappage Scheme (23 July)
In response to a question on whether he planned to introduce a boiler scrappage scheme, in line with the rest of the UK, the Minister stated that the DSD consultation on proposals for a new Fuel Poverty Strategy for Northern Ireland contains proposals on the feasibility of introducing a Boiler Replacement Scheme. The Minister added that the Scheme he would like to introduce would be a fuel poverty scheme and not be administered on a ‘first come, first served’ basis as had been the case in England and Scotland but like to hear the public’s view on the proposals. The consultation closes on 24 September.