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22nd November 2011
Minutes of the Meeting of the Environment Committee held in the Council Chamber, Council Offices, 47 Derry Road, Strabane on Tuesday 22 November 2011 at 7.30p.m.
Present: - In the Chair: Councillor J Donnell
Other Members: Councillors A Bresland, K Carlin, R Hamilton, D Hussey, D Kelly, T Kerrigan, J McCauley, K McGuire, M McHugh, R McHugh, M McMackin, B McMahon, E McMenamin, J O’Kane.
Interim Clerk and Chief Executive (CE)
Chief Technical Services Officer (CTSO)
Technical Services Licensing Officer (TSLO)
Ms Oonagh Given - Planning Officer (PO)
Apologies: Councillor P Kelly
New Planning Applications – November 2011
It was agreed that office meetings be arranged for the following applications:
J/2011/0140/F, J2011/0305/O, J/2011/0334/F, J2011/0340/F, J/2011/0347/O, J/2011/0360/F.
All Councillors declared an interest in J/2011/0147/F for which the approval was welcomed by Councillor Kerrigan.
Members were advised that application J/2011/0180/F had been deferred for a noise assessment report.
Councillor D Kelly referred to application J/2011/0363/F and queried the size of the satellite dish outlined in the proposal. The PO stated that she would have the proposal amended to show the correct size.
On the proposal of Councillor O’Kane, seconded by Councillor Hamilton the above schedule was approved.
Deferred Planning Applications – November 2011
Members were advised that the following applications had been deferred pending meetings with the relevant MLA.
J/2010/0471/F and J/2011/0294/O.
Members were advised that application J/2011/0286/O had been withdrawn.
On the proposal of Councillor Bresland, seconded by Councillor O’Kane, the above schedule was approved.
As this was the last Environment Committee meeting before Christmas, the Chairman wished the PO a Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year, which she reciprocated to Members. She left the meeting at 7.40pm.
Planning Service Consultations
J/2011/0335/F: Amendment to approved Tievameenta windfarm
On the proposal of Councillor McGuire, seconded by Councillor McMackin, it was agreed that the above item would be carried forward to the next Full Council Meeting.
J/2011/0341/PREAPP: Pre-application discussion for 3 Rivers Projects at Lifford Road/Barnhill Road
Councillor McGuire advised Members that he had been approached about the application and informed that he had supposedly refused a request to Council to make a presentation in respect of the above application. He sought clarification for the Full Council Meeting as at no time did he refuse a presentation being made.
Councillor McCauley stated that when the details of the proposals had come to Council previously it had been agreed that the application should be at a more progressed stage prior to the applicants coming to give a presentation to Members.
The CE stated that he would have the matter clarified and that an informal presentation to Members could be arranged.
J/2011/0148/F - Environmental Impact Assessment for proposed windfarm at Meenablagh
The CE referred to correspondence from Canavan Associates in relation to the above that had previously been circulated for Members’ consideration.
On the proposal of Councillor McGuire, seconded by Councillor McMackin, it was agreed that the above item would be carried forward to the next Full Council meeting.
Technical Services Licensing Officer’s Report
The TSLO presented the report, a copy of which was previously circulated for Members’ attention. Arising from the report the following was discussed:
Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) (NI) Order 1985
Licensing Of Places of Entertainment
Councillor Hamilton declared as interest in Ardstraw Presbyterian Church Hall.
The recommendation in relation to the renewal of an Entertainments Licence for the 6 No. premises listed in the report was agreed.
Street Trading Act (NI) 2001
Approval of Temporary Street Trading Licences
The TSLO advised Members that four No. applications for the granting of Temporary Street Trading Licences had been received; three as outlined in his report and the fourth was from a Mr McCormack from Maghera whose application had been received after his report had been finalised.
In response to a query from Councillor Hussey, the TSLO stated that the products being sold were ‘glowlights’etc.
Councillor O’Kane stated that with the present economic depression he had reservations in allowing outside traders to sell their products in the town. He added that local shopkeepers needed to be supported and they could lose out on trade if the licences were granted.
The TSLO stated there was an opportunity for all traders within the district to apply for temporary licences and the same principles applied this year for considering applications as per previous years.
Councillor Carlin supported Councillor O’Kane and stated that parents could be put under financial pressure by their children to purchase the quite expensive novelty items.
Councillors McMenamin and Hussey concurred and felt that the goods being sold should not be overpriced so that families were not being put under financial pressure.
The TSLO stated that Members’ concerns could be relayed to the applicants and a working group set up to review the current practice.
Councillor M McHugh stated that although he felt it was worthwhile to relay Members’ concerns to the applicants, he thought Council should not impose any restrictions. He added that as adults, the parents could make their own decisions as to whether to purchase the novelties or not. He said that liaison could take place with the Strabane traders.
It was agreed that the concerns of Members would be relayed to the applicants and that a working group would be set up to review the situation.
Bye-Laws Prohibiting Consumption of Intoxicating Liquor in Designated Places
Councillor Carlin declared an interest given potential legal proceedings through the solicitor’s office where she was employed.
The recommendation that legal proceedings be initiated in relation to ND 539/2/260611 and ND 546/1/180911, ‘on street drinking’ offences as listed in the report was agreed.
On the proposal of Councillor O’Kane, seconded by Councillor Hamilton, the TSLO’s report was adopted.
Chief Technical Services Officer’s Report
The CTSO presented his monthly report, a copy of which was previously circulated for Members’ attention. The following was discussed:
Review of Waste Management Processes
The CTSO advised Members that following his report to Council in October 2011 the review of Council’s waste management processes was referred for further detailed discussion to the Council’s Waste Management Working Group.
He added that the Waste Management Working Group reviewed the report and the requirements for a major reduction in the amount of waste that could be disposed of to landfill in the next financial year to meet NILAS targets. He stated that the allocated allowance for Council would reduce from 10,659 tonnes in the current year to 7,330 tonnes in the next financial year which was a major step reduction. Failure to meet those targets would mean incurring fines of £150 per tonne. He added that landfill tax would also increase from £56 per tonne to £64 per tonne for waste disposed to landfill, hence the need for improved controls on Council waste management processes.
He further advised Members that following considerable discussions the following programme of changes to Council’s waste management processes was recommended by the Waste Management Working Group:
1. An article to be placed in the local press on 1 December 2011 informing all waste producers that black bins would be checked on collection days for recyclable material and if detected, a green label would be applied to the bin. If the same bin was detected on the next or subsequent week, a red label would be applied and the bin would not be collected until the next collection day and only if the waste had been properly segregated.
2. With effect from 16 January 2012 all Council’s Civic Amenity/Recycling Sites would be re-branded as Recycling Sites and no domestic black bin or black bag waste would be accepted for disposal to landfill.
All producers of waste at the Recycling Sites would be required to produce a valid photographic ID and utility bill from the premises that the waste was produced, which must be within the Council boundary. The only exception would be in the case of severe snow and ice when normal refuse collection services had not been delivered.
3. With effect from February/March 2012 when the new North West Regional Contract would be accepted for mixed dry recyclable (blue bin waste), a new self adhesive leaflet would be prepared for distribution and application to each blue bin in the District to inform the waste producer of the types of recyclable material that could be disposed of in the blue bin.
4. An ongoing awareness campaign would be initiated through the local press and media to inform the general public of the changes to waste management processes and would include new information signage at the recycling sites. The proposed changes would be reviewed in March 2012.
Councillor McMackin welcomed the report and congratulated the Waste Management Group for taking matters forward. She stated that she fully supported the recommendations, particularly Nos. two and four as they were steps in the right direction. She felt that after March 2012, if no improvements were forthcoming, then fines should be introduced.
Councillor M McHugh concurred but queried if ID and an amenity bill had to be shown each time you used a recycling centre.
The CTSO advised that the recommendation for ID etc was being introduced to deter refuse being brought into the district from Donegal. He accepted that it would be frustrating for the public but stated that it would be reviewed again in March 2012.
Councillor Hussey stated that he was appalled at the total amount of fines that could be incurred by Council if significant changes were not made to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill. He added that it could prove to be a rise of 13/14p on the annual rates bill and with not all members of the public paying their rates bill, it would fall to the rest of the public to cover the deficit. He welcomed the report and all the recommendations, especially the labeling of bins but felt that a large information sheet on the actual bin lorry panels might prove more cost effective.
Councillor Kerrigan welcomed the report and stated that the new recommendations needed to be adopted as soon as possible. He added that Council needed to be firm in carrying out the recommendations as the general public needed to be aware of just how significant the waste problem was.
Councillor McMenamin was delighted with the recommendations and wished them to be implemented as quickly as possible. He concurred that ratepayers must be made aware of the financial consequences of the reduction in waste to landfill was not carried out. He added that there could be potential for illegal dumping which should be stamped out with heavy fines.
Councillor McMahon welcomed the report and stated that the recommendations showed a well balanced approach to the ongoing problem. He stated that something had to be done to make the public more aware that their waste must be segregated properly.
Councillor McGuire welcomed the report and stated that Council would be facing further more significant difficulties if the recommendations were not introduced. He felt that it was necessary to implement the recommendations and he was fully supportive of them.
Councillor D Kelly welcomed the report and felt that it did not go far enough yet. He felt that each household should be lettered advising them clearly of what was going to happen in the immediate future and why. He welcomed the forthcoming changes in relation to the recycling centres but felt that more bottle banks were needed around the district. He also felt that a broader spectrum of newspapers should be contacted with the relevant information, not just the local papers.
The CTSO stated that when the new contract for mixed dry recyclable waste was accepted in March 2012, it was hoped that glass was to be one of the new materials that could be put into the blue bin and there would no longer be a need for bottle banks. He added that lettering each household had not been discussed as the proposed stickers on the bins would identify the households which were not segregating their waste. Also Council staff at recycling centres would not be accepting any black bags or bins from members of the public. He stated that there would also be an article in the Council’s SNAPSHOT magazine.
Councillor Hamilton welcomed the report but queried if the checking of bins for unsegregated waste would increase the workload of Council workers and therefore defeat the purpose.
The CTSO stated that it was a good point but manpower would be redeployed from the grounds maintenance staff at this time of year. He added that the bins had to be checked properly and although it was not a pleasant job, it had to be done.
Councillor R McHugh welcomed the report and queried if there could be a ‘catch 22’ situation whereby contaminated waste could be put into a blue bin and then neither bin would be lifted.
The CTSO said that contractors would not pay for contaminated waste and it could result in blue bins having to be checked as well. He added that the situation would be monitored on an ongoing basis.
Councillor Bresland welcomed the report but requested that the postcodes in relation to the issue of SNAPSHOT be checked to ensure that each household in the district received a copy. He also felt that large information stickers on both the bins detailing exactly what waste should go inside could prove helpful.
On the proposal of Councillor Kerrigan, seconded by Councillor McCauley, the CTSO’s report was agreed.
Any Other Business
Planning Session for Members
The CE referred to information that had been tabled for Members’ consideration in relation to the above session which would provide them with an overview of all key planning documents that Council were consulted upon and the role of Council in planning matters. He added that the session would be held on 18 January 2012 at the Council Offices and would be of particular benefit to all new Members, although all existing Members were invited.
Members agreed to the Planning Session being held as outlined above.
NI Water (NIW)
Councillor McMackin requested that a letter be sent to NIW asking them to tidy the piece of land adjacent to O’Nolan Park, Strabane where one of their water pumps was located, on an ongoing basis.
Members were in agreement with the above.
Members Development Training
Councillor McMackin requested that traveling expenses incurred by her undertaking the above training in Craigavon be agreed.
Members were in agreement with the above.
Riverside Car Park – Strabane Health Centre
Councillor McMackin requested sight of the response from Roads Service in relation to a recent letter Council sent regarding the above car park.
A5 – Temporary Closure
Councillor McMenamin requested that Roads Service be contacted to ensure that there were adequate diversion signs, especially for the forthcoming weekend, when the main road to Derry was closed. He added that traffic was being diverted across the border but there were no diversion signs at Lifford to point them in the right direction.
Members were in agreement with the above.
Councillor McGuire requested that receptions, subject to policy, be held for the following:
• Aghyaran Under 13 Boys
• Aghyaran Under 14 Boys
Members were in agreement with the above.
On the proposal of Councillor O’Kane, seconded by Councillor McMenamin, it was agreed that the meeting would go ‘into committee’.
The meeting closed at 9.15pm.