Business of Joint Committee

Apologies have been received from Deputies Seán Fleming and Eamon Scanlon. The minutes of the meeting of 1 June have been circulated. Are they agreed? Agreed.

We will deal with correspondence. Item 884 is a list of proposals for European Union legislation from the Joint Committee on European Scrutiny. It is noted. Item 885 is Europe’s World newsletter. It is noted. Item 886 concerns developments at the Council of the European Union. It is noted. Item 887 is a ministerial press release on the prohibition on the cutting of turf. It is noted. Item 888 concerns the activities of the European Parliament. It is noted. Item No. 889 is the 2009 annual report and annual output statement from the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government. It is noted. Item 890 is a letter expressing concern as to the application of carbon tax on solid fuel from the solid fuel trade group. We will pass it on to the Joint Committee on Climate Change and Energy Security. Item 891 is a reply to a committee query on sewerage treatment systems. It is noted and we will copy a reply to the Domestic Effluent Treatment Association.

Item 892 is a reply to the committee's queries regarding the financial ability of local authorities to implement the water services investment programme. It is noted. Item 893 is European policy update No. 159. It is noted. Item 894 is a report on the national litter pollution monitoring system. It is noted. No. 895 is a request for a hearing on the illegal use of poison in Ireland. It is noted and added to the schedule. Item 896 is a reply accepting a meeting with the relatives of the leaders of the 1916 rising on designating sites at Moore Street as a national monument to the Rising. It is noted. Item 897 is the European Union 2009 annual report on relations between the Commission and national Parliaments. It is noted.

The following circulars have been received: SHIP 2010/12 — management of project budgets and cost control procedures at the implementation stages of housing projects; BC 3/2010 — building regulations (Part F amendment) regulations; TAU 3 — revised funding for social workers and caretakers; and SHIP 2010/13 — capital assistance scheme: proposals for the provision of accommodation by approved housing bodies for people with specific categories of housing need.

We note statutory instrument 231 of 2010 — Waste Water Discharge (Authorisation) (Amendment) Regulations 2010. Nos. 236 to 245, inclusive, are statutory instruments for the conservation of wild bird special protection areas.

A draft report on last week's visit to Brussels by a delegation from the joint committee to attend the green week at the European Commission has been circulated to members. I thank Deputies James Bannon and Ciarán Lynch for representing the committee at the conference. It was agreed to approve the report and lay it before both Houses of the Oireachtas. Is that agreed? Agreed.

The main item on our agenda is the preparation of new guidelines on the national spatial strategy for planning authorities. Our discussion is timely given that Committee Stage of the Planning and Development (Amendment) Bill 2009 will come before us next week.

Can I make one comment in regard the correspondence on turf cutting? We have discussed this issue ad nauseam. There may be breaches of the regulations in 2010 because people have been campaigning but a resolution is in sight. I appeal to the relevant officials from the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government not to use a heavy hammer in terms of prosecuting people who have been cutting turf on their own bogs for centuries. I ask that officials take a softly-softly approach in this transition year.

We all agree with the Deputy. We can write to the Department if he so wishes.

I propose that we write to the Department.

I second the proposal and I strongly agree with the Deputy.

We will correspond with the Department.