MOT crisis: 12 weeks before new vehicle lifts will arrive, says MLA

MOT tests have been suspended for cars and light vehicles across Northern IrelandMOT tests have been suspended for cars and light vehicles across Northern Ireland
MOT tests have been suspended for cars and light vehicles across Northern Ireland
It will take 12 weeks for new equipment to arrive to replace faulty vehicle lifts that brought MOT testing to a halt, a member of Stormont’s infrastructure committee has said.

MOT testing for cars and light vehicles has been suspended across Northern Ireland as a precaution, after faults were identified in vehicle lifting equipment.

Two new lifts arrived yesterday but these had been ordered some time ago.

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UUP MLA and Stormont infrastructue committee member Roy Beggs told the News Letter last night the “first batch” of replacement lifts could take around 12 weeks to arrive.

“There are two lifts being installed as we speak but they were ordered already,” he said.

“These manufacturers do not have this equipment sitting on the shelf. I am told that the first batch of ramps is likely to take 12 weeks.

“I don’t know how long it will take for the rest to arrive — I am told there are 55 required.”

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He continued: “There are also issues around the purchasing arrangements. Obviously this is very urgent but there are restrictions around the value of the contract. Everybody needs to work very closely together to make sure that bureaucracy doesn’t hold this back.”

Meanwhile, the PSNI has said officers will be encouraged to exercise discretion for drivers caught without an MOT certificate, in light of the recent shambles.

For drivers whose MOT certificate is expiring, four-month extensions are being granted by the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA).

But this excludes four-year-old vehicles due to undergo their first MOT test since there is no certificate to extend.

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For these drivers, the PSNI has said officers will use discretion unless the vehicle is not deemed “roadworthy”.

And since a valid MOT is required to tax a vehicle, the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) has asked the agency in charge of vehicle tax, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), not to “penalise” drivers due to the MOT disruption.

But there have been calls for further steps to be taken to clear up the situation.

Sinn Fein’s Cathal Boylan and Mr Beggs have each suggested extending the length of time before new cars are required to undergo MOT tests.

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Mr Boylan said: “Sinn Fein have raised the possibility of providing a one-year extension on the requirement for four-year-old cars to get tested.”

Mr Beggs said: “Exempting four-year-old cars could free up more lanes.”