New test centres delayed as MOT woes continue in Northern Ireland

Waiting times are a “disaster” for garages and drivers alike

New test centres delayed as MOT woes continue in Northern Ireland
Photo: Bigstock

Delays to the opening of two new MOT test centres will mean drivers in Northern Ireland can expect even longer waits for a test.

According to BBC News NI, a new test centre in County Antrim planned for 2024, won’t open until 2025, while a new facility in south Belfast will open later this year, around two years later than scheduled.

The chair of the Northern Ireland Assembly’s Infrastructure Committee told BBC News NI that she “will be raising MOT testing with the minister as soon as possible”.

The Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) said the new test centres will be able to test 200,000 additional vehicles a year, which will relieve the pressure on MOT tests in Northern Ireland, where drivers have faced lengthy waiting times.

A total of 991,305 tests were carried out in Northern Ireland in 2023.

The DVA said the delays were in part due to “contractual problems” with Worldwide Environmental Products, the company contracted to supply testing equipment for the centres.

Darren Fleck, a mechanic based in County Antrim, told the BBC: “Booking MOTs so far in advance is OK if you are a petrolhead who keeps ahead of all of the scheduled maintenance and listens to the news and hears that you have to book and MOT three or four months in advance.”

Belfast mechanic Charlie Sterrett told The Irish News the delays are a “disaster” for his garage, saying: “You could go online today for an MOT and it might be August or September. You might get lucky but eight times out of ten it’s just an absolute disaster.”

“Obviously it hurts our business. We depend on cars passing their MOTs to get jobs and money in. Also, on the side of the MOT centres, a lot of them are open every night and seven days a week. We’re even taking cars to MOTs on a Sunday to try and get the business.

“That means there’s overtime for us to pay to staff on a Sunday as well.”

Source: BBC

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