East Antrim MLA challenges minister over ‘slow progress’ on return of MOT centres

Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon is to outline when DVA services will resume after concerns were voiced about the current time frame by East Antrim MLA Roy Beggs.

By Russell Keers
Friday, 12th June 2020, 5:54 pm
Larne test centre (image Google).
Larne test centre (image Google).

Mr Beggs said he was surprised to be advised by officials at the Stormont Infrastructure Committee that after several months they are still ‘assessing risks’ at MOT centres.

The Ulster Unionist transport spokesperson added: “Meanwhile, our private sector garages and mechanics have had to put in suitable policies and provide an necessary PPE to repair vehicles. Public officials seem to be slow to adjust services to enable them to provide necessary services to the public in a safe manner.

“I have also been shocked to learn from officials that there have been no motorcycle driver tests since March. I would urge the minister to ensure that the review of motorcycle testing would be urgently completed so that new safe working practice can be identified and services can be resumed for those seeking a motorcycle driving licence.”

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In response, a Department for Infrastructure spokesperson said: “Since the Covid-19 outbreak, the minister has prioritised the safety of the public and staff. As announced at that time, from March 20, in the interest of public safety and to tackle the spread of Covid-19, the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) suspended all driving tests at all DVA testing centres for three months, until June 22.

“No motorcycle tests have therefore been performed in that period. However, a number of measures have been put in place so that, as far as possible, vehicles can be kept on the road safely.

“The DVA has been undertaking a full review of risk assessments for the safe resumption of all services in line with Public Health Agency advice.

“A plan is being finalised for consideration by the minister. Revised processes will be agreed with staff and trade unions before services resume.

“The minister has made it clear that all services, except those in MOT centres currently being used as Covid-19 testing centres, will resume as soon as it is safe to do so. The minister will provide an update on the resumption of DVA services in the coming days.”

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