THREE more vehicle lifts are now operational at MOT test centres in Northern Ireland as efforts are under way to reduce a backlog.
MOT tests for cars and light vehicles were suspended last week because of concerns over lift equipment.
In Northern Ireland, cars are due their first MOT after four years and taxis from when they are first used.
Paul Duffy, chief executive of the Driver and Vehicle Agency, said the three lifts – two in Lisburn and one in Belfast – came into operation on Friday after being cleared for use.
‘These lifts are now operational and provide much-needed additional capacity for prioritising four-year-old cars, taxis and car dealerships,’ he said.
‘In addition, infrastructure minister Nichola Mallon announced that two new lifts are being installed to provide additional capacity – one in Balmoral Road, Belfast, and one in Newbuildings, Derry.
It was anticipated that the new lift in Balmoral Road would start being used over the weekend, with the one in Derry operational from today.
‘These lifts will be independently inspected and checked before becoming operational,’ said Duffy, who added that vehicles with MOT expiry dates in the coming days were being prioritised.
Test centres in Ballymena, Belfast, Coleraine, Craigavon, Larne, Lisburn, Omagh, Newry and Newtownards were open yesterday as part of the effort to get priority vehicles tested and back on the road as soon as possible.
Testing of HGVs, buses and motorcycles remains unaffected by the current disruption.
Cracks in vehicle lifts were first detected in November but the problem rapidly escalated last month.
Duffy ordered the halting of tests for cars and light vehicles at the agency’s 15 centres – the only places in Northern Ireland where MOT tests can be carried out – last Monday after failing to receive adequate assurances about repairs.
On Tuesday, Mallon revealed she had ordered two independent reviews into how the situation came about, describing it as ‘not acceptable’.
Pictures: Liam McBurney/PA