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Northern Ireland’s MOT backlog a ‘disaster’ for garages

Delays to the opening of two new MOT centres in Northern Ireland could potentially lead to more dangerous vehicles on the region’s roads, as the MOT backlog there remains a “disaster” for both garages and motorists.

According to a report from BBC News NI, a new MOT centre at Hydebank in south Belfast was due to open in 2022, but has now been scheduled to open later this year.

Meanwhile, a new test centre at Mallusk, Co Antrim which was scheduled to open in 2024, is now planned for 2025.

The Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) attributed delays in the development of new testing centres to the Covid-19 pandemic, the supply of materials and problems with the company contracted to provide testing equipment.

The delays come as many drivers in Northern Ireland continue to face long waits for the vehicle roadworthiness test.

BBC News NI claims that the majority of motorists in Northern Ireland are facing a three-month delay for an MOT, unless a cancellation appears, when using the DVA online booking system.

One Belfast mechanic told The Irish News that 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 10 it’s just an absolute disaster.”

He added: “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.”