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Environment Minister attends British-Irish Council Summit and re-states the Isle of Man’s Position on Sellafield 27 July 2006

SEVENTH MEETING OF THE BRITISH- IRISH COUNCIL (ENVIRONMENT SECTORAL GROUP)

The British-Irish Council Environment Group held its seventh Ministerial meeting in Guernsey, Channel Islands today. The meeting was part of an ongoing series of meetings within the British-Irish Council (BIC) since the first Summit of 17 December 1999, which identified the environment as one of the issues for discussion.

The British-Irish Council was established under the Strand Three Provisions of the Belfast Agreement as a forum for its members to exchange information, discuss, consult, and use best endeavours to reach agreement on co-operation on matters of mutual interest within the competence of the relevant Administrations.

The British Government was represented by Ian Pearson MP, Minister of State for Climate Change and the Environment, who chaired the meeting and David Cairns, MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Northern Ireland Office. The Irish Government was represented by Batt O’Keeffe, TD, Minister of State of the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government. The States of Guernsey by Deputy Bernard Flouquet Minister, Environment Department who also hosted the meeting. The Welsh Assembly Government was represented by Carwyn Jones AM, Minister for Environment, Planning and Countryside. The Isle of Man was represented by John Rimington, MHK, Minister for Local Government and the Environment. Scotland was represented by Rhona Brankin, MSP, Deputy Minister for Environment and Rural Development. Jersey by Senator Frederick Cohen, Minister for Planning and Environment.

A full list of delegation members is attached.

The meeting received a paper outlining a ‘Climate Change Adaptation Work Programme’ produced by the UK. The discussions were a follow up to those of the BIC Summit held in June where Ministers agreed to take forward a work programme on the issue of adapting to unavoidable climate change. The Ministers agreed to focus effort on four work streams: extreme events; indicators of adaptation to climate change; indicators of climate change; and coastal erosion and sea-level rise. The Group approved a number of concrete actions, including a workshop on improving reaction to and prediction of extreme events to be hosted by Ireland; the establishment of a working group looking at indicators of adaptation to climate change; and a workshop looking at the development of national adaptation strategies to be hosted by the UK.

Nicola Martin of Defra’s Sustainable Procurement Task Force Secretariat gave a presentation of the work of the Task Force and its National Action Plan which was launched in June 2006. The Sustainable Procurement Task Force (SPTF) was set up in May 2005 as committed in the 2005 UK Sustainable Development Strategy. The National Action Plan was delivered in June 2006 and will enable the UK government to bring about a step-change in public procurement such that, by 2009, it can meet the goal in the 2005 sustainable development strategy for the UK to be recognised as amongst the leaders in sustainable procurement across the EU.

The Welsh Assembly Government presented a paper on the work of the Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) Working Group. This was the second update from the Working Group and updated Ministers on the progress of developing ICZM national strategies. The paper covered many recent developments in the field. It was agreed that the ICZM Working Group should continue its good work and produce a further progress report for the 8th BIC(E) meeting.

There was an update from the UK on the work taken forward on Integrated Coastal Zone Management in the context of its wider strategy on the marine environment and the UK’s commitment to promoting an integrated approach to managing the coastal zone. The UK added that the coast is dynamic and hugely varied. The BIC(E) process is a useful way for the different UK administrations to work closely with Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, to ensure a harmonised approach to the way forward on coastal management.

Ireland reiterated its concerns in relation to Sellafield and nuclear safety while acknowledging the improvements in co-operation between Britain and Ireland since the signing of a bilateral agreement in December 2004. The Group agreed to keep the issue of Sellafield and nuclear safety on the agenda for the next Ministerial.

The Group welcomed and noted that the 8th meeting of the Environment Group will take place in Northern Ireland.

It was agreed that among the main items for discussion at the next meeting of the Group would be Climate Change, Sellafield and Radioactive Waste; Inter Coastal Zone Management and results of the BIC(E) work review.

British-Irish Council (Environment Sectoral Group)

26th July 2006

BRITISH IRISH COUNCIL (ENVIRONMENT SECTORAL GROUP)

List of Delegates

Wednesday 26th July 2006

United Kingdom

Ian Pearson MP, Minister of State for Climate Change and the Environment

Bill Stow, Director General, Environment (Defra)

Emma Batchelor, Private Secretary to the Minister of State for Climate Change & Environment

Caroline Cowan, Global Atmosphere (Defra)

Nicola Martin, Sustainable Task Force Secretariat (Defra)

[David Cairns MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Northern Ireland Office]

Wesley Shannon, Director of Environment Policy Division, Northern Ireland

Kenneth Bradley, Head of Natural Policy , Northern Ireland

Alison Barnett Private Secretary

Ireland

Batt O’Keeffe, TD, Minister of State at the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government

Tom O’Mahony, Assistant Secretary Environment Division, Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government

Alice McAndrew, Assistant Principal Officer, Environment International,

Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government

Dr. Frank McGovern, Environmental Protection Agency

Brendan Quinn, Private Secretary to Minister O’Keeffe

Wales

Carwyn Jones AM, Minister for Environment, Planning and Countryside

Matthew Quinn, Head of Environment Protection and Wales Quality Division

Scotland

Rhona Brankin, MSP, Deputy Minister for the Environment and Rural Development

Andrew Mackie, Head of International Issues Team

Alistair Montgomery, Senior Executive Officer

James Newman, Minister’s Private Secretary

Isle of Man

John Rimington MHK, Minister for Local Government and the Environment

Nick Black, Acting Director of Environment, Safety and Health, Department of Local Government and the Environment

Jersey

Senator Frederick Cohen, Minister for Planning and Environment

Chris Newton, Director of Environment

Guernsey

Deputy Bernard Flouquet Minister, Environment Department

Steve Smith

BIC Secretariat

Matthew Cook, Department for Constitutional Affairs, UK

Andy Dixon, Department for Constitutional Affairs, UK

Dearbhla Doyle, Department of Foreign Affairs, Ireland

BIC(E) Support Unit

Paul Stansfield, Defra

Nazrul Meah, Defra

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