Doubt cast on June 22 reopening of Northern Ireland’s MOT centres

Doubt has been cast on whether MOT centres in Northern Ireland will reopen as planned on June 22.

MOT centres such as Balmoral have been used for testing for Covid 19. 
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON
MOT centres such as Balmoral have been used for testing for Covid 19. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

Desmond Elton, who runs a vehicle registration company in Lisbellaw which also carries out MOTs for motorbikes, is frustrated at what he feels is a lack of clarity from DVA.

According to Covid guidelines vehicles out of MOT by more than a year cannot be driven, while those within 12 months of MOT are exempt.

Desmond said: “As a result of this we have been sending our motorcycles to Scotland for MOT which involves considerable haulage and ferry costs as well as man hours. We send approximately 20 a week to Stranraer for MOT.

“The problems that we incur are also shared by many second hand car dealers – for many it’s just not financially viable to send vehicles to Scotland.”

He added: “My biggest gripe is the lack of any clear direction or clarity from DVA headquarters. In 2004 during industrial action, the DVA issued exemptions for all vehicles, I believe this time they should have done the same.

“I believe DVA headquarters could have been more proactive in helping local businesses like ourselves, car dealers as well as the general public who have had vehicles off the road for over a year which cannot be MOT’d under current rules, therefore cannot be legally driven on the public roads.

“We look at this magical date of June 22 which is less than a week away, I do not believe for one iota that they will reopen on this date, bearing in mind the lift situation before lockdown even came in.”

The DVA said the June 22 date is “subject to review”.