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News

 

Events

 

Mar 2018 right left

   
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Hedge Planting

Sunday 4th March
Gilford Castle, Gilford Village, Co–Armagh
Free

Belfast Festival of Learning

Monday 5th March
Various, see programme for details
Free

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Woodland Management – Saintfield Estate

Sunday 18th March
Saintfield Estate, Saintfield
Free

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20

The Rivers Trust Spring Conference 2018

Wednesday 21st March
Iveagh House, Saint Stephen’s Green, Dublin
Free

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23

NI Allotment and Community Garden Forum

Saturday 24th March
MACCA Centre, Omagh

Easter Fun At Monkstown Wood

Saturday 24th March
Monkstown Wood, Newtownabbey
See website for details

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26

Outdoor Recreation & Your Community

Tuesday 27th March
An Creagán Centre, County Tyrone

EU Funding for Sustainable Development – Project Ideas Lab

Wednesday 28th March
Sustainable NI, Bradford Court, Upper Galwally, Belfast BT8 6RB
Free

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Assembly News (Jan 10) 6 March 2012

By Seán Kelly, Policy Officer, NIEL

Written Questions

Department of the Environment

www.niassembly.gov.uk/qanda/2007mandate/writtenans/2009/100108.htm#7

Legislation (08 January)
Minister Poots revealed that his Department is currently working to bring a range of primary legislation before the Assembly by 2011, and plans to introduce six Bills by the dates indicated below. These dates are subject to Environment Committee consideration and Executive Committee approval as appropriate. The Minister added that his Department also intends to bring a number of pieces of subordinate legislation to the Assembly for approval by Affirmative Resolution, but was unable to confirm a timetable for the relevant debates at this stage.

Title

Proposed Date For Introduction To The Assembly

Local Government Finance Bill January 2010
Waste and Contaminated Land (Amendment) Bill January/February 2010
Local Government Reorganisation Bill May 2010
Planning Reform Bill June 2010
High Hedges Bill June 2010
Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Bill June 2010

Department for Social Development
www.niassembly.gov.uk/qanda/2007mandate/writtenans/2009/100108.htm#11

Boiler Scrappage Scheme (8 January)
Social Development Minister, Margaret Ritchie stated that she is considering introducing a boiler scrappage scheme similar to the scheme announced by the Chancellor in the pre–budget report. The Minister stated her Department is considering a boiler replacement scheme as part of its review of the Fuel Poverty Strategy. The new strategy will be subject to public consultation early in 2010.

Warm Homes Scheme (15 January)
www.niassembly.gov.uk/qanda/2007mandate/writtenans/2009/100115.htm#11

The Minister provided an update on the status of the Warm Homes Scheme. Since 2001 over £118 million has been spent making in excess of 71,000 households warmer. Following a competitive tendering process the new Warm Homes Scheme contract was awarded to two new scheme managers and at the end of December, 6885 successful applications have been received. However at subsequent debate at the Assembly (Private Members Business 19 January) Members supported a motion which stated this Assembly recognises the valuable contribution of the warm homes scheme, since its inception, in improving the energy and fuel efficiency of thousands of homes, and in tackling fuel poverty in Northern Ireland; welcomes the allocation of over £20 million to the scheme in this financial year; notes with concern the low levels of heating installations this year to date; and calls on the Minister for Social Development to examine the progress of the scheme and to review the eligibility criteria with a view to making them more flexible in respect of heating replacements whilst still focusing on people most in need.

Executive Committee Business (12 January)
www.niassembly.gov.uk/record/reports2009/100112.htm#6

Wildlife and Natural Environment Bill – Second Stage

The Minister introduced the Second Stage debate on the Wildlife and Natural Bill to the Assembly. The Bill is intended to provide more protection for the species listed, introduces custodial sentences for severe and persistent wildlife crime and new powers to protect areas of special scientific interest. It also proposes a new duty on Departments and other public bodies (including local authorities) to further the conservation of biodiversity and abolishes elements of the game laws that require anyone hunting or selling game to have a licence. While members welcomed the Second Stage of the Bill, most contributors to the debate questioned the lack of proposals to increase the level of protection afforded to the Irish hare and the proposal to regulate the use of snares rather than a total ban. Following the debate, the Second Stage of the Bill was agreed and now moves to the Assembly Environment Committee for its Consideration Stage.

Ministerial Statement (12 January)
www.niassembly.gov.uk/record/reports2009/100112.htm#1

EU Fisheries Council: December 2009
Minister Gildernew outlined the main outcomes of the Fisheries Council meeting. The Minister’s priority was to resist the proposed 30% cut in the nephrops total allowable catch (TAC) for area 7 and considerable effort was expended to combat the arguments used to justify this proposal. After lengthy negotiations, the Commission reduced the cut to 9%, but despite further strong representations no further movement was possible. Despite pressing for an increase in the Irish Sea herring quota, the final package did not provide any increase.  There was an expected 25% cut in the cod TAC in line with the cod recovery plan, no change for haddock and a 14% increase for Irish Sea plaice. Both sole and whiting stocks remained depleted, and each experienced a cut of 25%, but those stocks are of little importance to the local fleet, and the quotas remain above recorded landings.

Ministerial Statement (18 January)
http://www.niassembly.gov.uk/record/reports2009/100126.htm#5

British–Irish Council: Ministerial Meeting
Minister Ritchie reported on the inaugural meeting of the British–Irish Council housing work stream, held in December 2009 which discussed sustainable and more energy–efficient housing, including the use of renewable technologies. Ministers agreed the potential to boost the economy and to help reduce the impacts of climate change, and agreed that work should be taken forward to identify effective measures that could be introduced in new and existing homes. Ministers discussed the ROI’s experience in greening its housing stock through the introduction of mandatory standards for the use of renewable technologies through building control and summarised the outworkings of that initiative with regard to reduced energy consumption and carbon emissions. Other examples of good practice discussed were the Welsh Assembly’s pilot scheme to deliver 22 housing units to level 4 and 5 of the ‘Code for Sustainable Homes’ and the establishment in Scotland of a best practice unit to consider renewable technologies across the world. The topic generated debate on the merits of retrofitting as opposed to newbuild and the success of financial incentives to drive change versus regulation.

Ministerial Statement (19 January)
www.niassembly.gov.uk/record/reports2009/100119.htm#2

Draft High Hedges Bill
Minister Poots proposed legislation designed to help people adversely affected by high hedges bordering their domestic property. The aim of the draft bill is to deal with the loss of light caused by trees and proposes to give councils the power to investigate complaints and, where appropriate, issue remedial notices requiring that such hedges be reduced to a specified height. A remedial notice will specify the time frame in which work must be carried out. Before issuing a remedial notice, other important environmental factors, such as bird nesting seasons and tree preservation orders, will also be taken into consideration. The draft legislation does not look at individual trees but at instances when those trees are planted as hedges and cause problems. The consultation period will run until 1 March.

Executive Committee Business (26 January)
www.niassembly.gov.uk/record/reports2009/100126.htm#5

Water and Sewerage Services (Amendment) Bill – Consideration Stage
The purpose of this short technical Bill is to ensure the continued provision of customer subsidies to Northern Ireland Water in the absence of funding from customer charging. Following the Committee Stage it was decided that the Bill should proceed without amendment. Although the Committee had sought clarity on the financial impact that ongoing deferral may have on the Northern Ireland block, on DRD budget, and on the budgets of other Departments, they were generally satisfied that further clarification was not available unless or until the Executive make a decision on funding arrangements for, provision of, water and sewerage services in Northern Ireland.

New Members and Committee Membership
During January a number of changes have taken place:

  • Billy Leonard has replaced Francie Brolly as a MLA for East Londonderry.  Mr Leonard has been appointed member of the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure, member of the Committee on Procedures, and the Committee on Standards and Privileges;
  • Conall McDevitt has replaced Carmel Hanna as a MLA for South Belfast. Mr McDevitt has been appointed member of the Committee for Health, Social Services and Public Safety;
  • Jonathan Bell has replaced Iris Robinson as a MLA for the Strangford constituency;
  • Alex Attwood has been appointed to the Assembly Commission;
  • Declan O’Loan has been appointed member of the Assembly and Executive Review Committee.