DVLA told to ‘up its game’ as motorists report problems

Mark H Durkan
Mark H Durkan

The environment minister has hit out over the level of service motorists are getting from the DVLA, following the closure of Northern Ireland’s car tax offices.

Mark H Durkan yesterday called on the minister for transport to act, saying that he is receiving reports of difficulties with both taxing and registering vehicles.

The DVLA in Swansea started handling all such matters for the Province’s vehicle drivers after Northern Ireland’s DVA was axed with the loss of hundreds of jobs.

Mr Durkan said: “The public and the motor trade have raised concerns such as the time taken to get vehicles registered or taxed and also the difference in MOT testing periods between Northern Ireland and Great Britain. These concerns have been raised with Swansea and an immediate response requested for the customers involved.

“I am very disappointed and concerned about ongoing problems that people are facing. My officials have raised these concerns with Swansea and I have written to the minister for transport to highlight these problems and to make it clear in no uncertain terms that Swansea needs to up its game.”

But a DVLA spokesman said: “Over 1.7 million Northern Ireland vehicle records were successfully automatically transferred to DVLA on 21 July – that’s nearly 96 per cent of the total number of vehicle records that were previously held by the DVA.

“Due to issues with some of the records provided from DVA we are manually transferring the remainder. Of these records only around 850 were due for tax in this month and we have been prioritising these for urgent resolution.

“We have always expected a very small number of issues in the data migration. This is well in line with our expectations and contrary to wider comment, DVLA’s systems have operated very successfully during the migration.”

Meanwhile, Judith Cochrane, Alliance MLA for East Belfast, said that the DVLA must urgently correct what she said is a glitch which has prevented some Northern Ireland drivers from taxing their vehicle.