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MOT wait time in Northern Ireland currently three months

Calls have been made for the reintroduction of a Temporary Exemption Certificate for MOTs in Northern Ireland, as the current waiting time for a roadworthiness test there is three months.

John Stewart, Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) infrastructure spokesperson, said motorists in Northern Ireland are being told that the next available MOT date is currently November 2023.

“The MOT backlog has been no surprise to anyone,” he said. “We have been facing these issues since January 2020 after inspections of lift faults in 48 out of 55 test centres discovered a lack of ‘sufficient assurance’ on the effectiveness of ongoing repairs.

“This was followed by the closure of MOT centres during the Covid-19 pandemic. From January 2019 to January 2020, just under one million tests were carried out across Northern Ireland, but less than 200,000 tests were carried out the following year.

“A backlog was expected during this timeframe, but despite a record 506,000 tests carried out between September 2022 and February 2023, there are still extensive delays in MOT inspections.”

Stewart added that the MOT testing system is “essential” to uphold the public safety and roadworthiness of vehicles across Northern Ireland, but the backlog is now resulting in some members of the public facing untaxed vehicle fines from being unable to tax their vehicles due to not having an MOT test carried out.

“Ulster Unionists call for a Temporary Exemption Certificate, which has been used at the height of the pandemic, to be reused again to allow backlogs to be cleared and fines to be appealed,” he said.

A spokesperson for the DVA (Driver & Vehicle Agency) said: “In the event police encounter a vehicle with no current MOT, so long as we can ascertain that a vehicle is roadworthy, has a forthcoming MOT test date and is not SORNED (Statutory Off Road Notification), then police will not take any further action.

“Every driver has a responsibility to ensure their vehicle is roadworthy.”