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MoT chaos: Vehicle exemptions extended and helpline set up for 'priority groups'

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A car on a lift at a MoT test centre in Northern Ireland

A car on a lift at a MoT test centre in Northern Ireland

Photopress

A car on a lift at a MoT test centre in Northern Ireland

An MoT helpline for priority vehicles has been established and three-year-old light goods vehicles will get automatic temporary exemptions certificates, the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) has confirmed.

MoT tests for cars and light vehicles were suspended last month following concerns over lift equipment.

The contact line is for use by three priority vehicles groups which include four-year-old cars due their first MoT, taxis and car dealerships. Those affected and who are due a test within the next two weeks are asked to contact the number in order to move their appointment forward.

These groups had been unable to get temporary exemptions which are being issued to other car and light goods vehicle owners.

DVA chief executive Paul Duffy said: “DVA is continuing to work to contact priority vehicle owners as quickly as possible, however we do not have contact details for all of these customers.

"Please state clearly when the vehicle test is due and have your booking reference to hand. This line will continue to be open to all relevant customers within the priority groups who need an urgent appointment within two weeks from the time of the call.

“DVA can only bring an appointment forward after a booking has been made on the system, so it is essential that customers continue to make a booking when they get a reminder letter.”

Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon launched two independent reviews after it was discovered most of the lifts used at test centres across Northern Ireland developed cracks.

Two new vehicle lifts are now operational in Belfast and Newbuildings, increasing capacity at these sites.

Three existing lifts in Belfast and Lisburn have been independently inspected and are operational.

DVA has told owners of cars of five years and older whose tests have been cancelled that they will automatically receive a temporary exemption certificate allowing them to continue to drive and tax their vehicle.

Exemptions have also been automatically issued to owners of three year old light good vehicles.

Testing of heavy goods vehicles, buses, motorcycles and re-tests remain unaffected.

The DVA's contact centre operates from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday and can be contacted on 0300 200 7862.

Belfast Telegraph