Fermanagh concerns over MOT backlogs

CHAIR of the Infrastructure Committee and DUP Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA, Deborah Erskine, has moved to reassure drivers over MOT test centre delays despite local motorists claiming there are still only a few slots available.
The Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA) has launched a new online form where you can request an urgent MOT test. Tests are only available if your tax has expired or is due to expire within the next 10 days.
Car owners must ensure that they have already booked an MOT as the reference number is required. Once entered, the system will expedite your existing appointment.
However, many motorists are still complaining on social media that there are still no slots available when booking the earliest available test appointment for their vehicle at test centres across the North.
Since the Assembly has been back sitting again, Ms Erskine has been pushing for the MOT backlogs to be addressed.
“It is not acceptable that people in Fermanagh and South Tyrone have to travel further to access an appointment or indeed that the ease of access to appointments has been hampered due to the sheer volume of people trying to access a slot,” Ms Erskine said.
“Our test centres are working seven days a week and I pay tribute to the staff working in the centres.
“There are a number of problems however facing the testing system – the simple one to deal with is if you have booked an appointment, make sure you turn up. In 2022-23 over 50,000 people failed to turn up for a booked appointment slot which adds pressure to the system.”
Ms Erskine tabled a motion to the Assembly before Easter calling for the Infrastructure Minister John O’Dowd to bring forward a costed, ambitious plan to tackle the delays.
“The Minister said he would be developing plans for biennial testing and would be looking at the reintroduction of Temporary Exemption Certificates. This is coupled with the introduction of short notice appointments for those whose tax and MOT is about to run out,” Ms Erskine explained.
“Quick fixes will not suffice. We need a fundamental root and branch look at how we carry out testing in Northern Ireland. The Minister said he would be bringing further details to the Assembly after Easter in terms of how he plans to tackle the issues.
“In committee last week, I followed up with the Infrastructure Minister to ask for an update.”

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