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New Vehicle Test Centres in Hydebank and Mallusk Postponed, Exacerbating MoT Backlogs

Northern Ireland residents are facing extended delays for mandatory vehicle MoT tests due to holdups in opening new testing centres in Hydebank and Mallusk, as uncovered by BBC News NI.
The Department for Infrastructure (DfI) has confirmed the Hydebank centre, initially set to begin operations in 2022, is now expected to launch later in the current year. Meanwhile, the Mallusk facility, originally planned for a 2024 start, has been pushed to 2025.

The postponements add to the ongoing long wait times drivers are currently enduring for vehicle inspections.

A report by the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) highlighted that the pandemic, material shortages, and issues with Worldwide Environmental Products, the equipment supplier, have significantly delayed the development of the centres.

Deborah Erskine, Chair of the NI Assembly's Infrastructure Committee, emphasized the urgent need to discuss these MoT delays with the minister.

Local mechanic Darren Fleck noted that the booking process is particularly challenging for those unaccustomed to scheduling tests far in advance, although spots are accessible for well-informed individuals who book online.

Both new centres are projected to expand testing capacity by over 200,000 vehicles a year, according to the DfI, which acknowledged the ongoing efforts to minimize waiting times.

Despite planning permission granted and construction timelines established, both the Hydebank and Mallusk centres have missed numerous target opening dates.

Legal disputes with Worldwide Environmental Products have further complicated the situation, although the company insists it has met contractual obligations.

The Alliance Party's David Honeyford criticized the persistent delays and urged for prompt improvement of the service, post-Covid and beyond the mentioned technological hurdles.
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