Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has announced that the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) is planning to resume full vehicle testing services from 26 July.
In light of the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions, which has enabled a number of close contact services to resume including driving tests, the DVA has carried out a review of its current vehicle testing processes in order to return to its normal 20 minute test slot for cars and light goods vehicles. Currently, vehicle testing templates are configured for 25 minutes in line with the control measures that were introduced to help stop the spread of Covid-19.
To manage the transition to full service delivery, Temporary Exemption Certificates (TECs) for all qualifying vehicles will be extended by one further month. New TECs or extensions to existing TECs will be applied automatically to enable vehicles to be taxed and kept on the road.
Minister Mallon said: “Over recent months the DVA has worked hard to increase its vehicle testing capacity but has been working at a reduced capacity due to the safety measures it introduced to help stop the spread of Covid-19.
“The DVA is taking steps to reinstate its normal vehicle test times from 26 July, which will allow all vehicles to be brought forward for a test. This will be kept under ongoing review depending on the course of the epidemic.
“The DVA is in the process of revising its risk assessments, which will include appropriate mitigation measures, and will engage on them with staff and Trade Union representatives.
“Existing TECs applied to eligible private cars, light goods vehicles and motorcycles aged 4-9 years will be extended by a further month from the date the existing exemption ends. Four year old cars and motorcycles and three year old light goods vehicles due a first time test will have a five month TEC applied from the date their first MOT is due.”
Continuing the Minister said: “Road safety remains a significant priority. I would like to remind owners and drivers of all vehicles that they are responsible under the law for the roadworthiness of their vehicle at all times. The expectation from the Department, the PSNI and the Association of British Insurers is that motorists continue to service their vehicle and carry out basic checks such as looking out for brake wear, ensuring that all lights are working and regularly checking their tyre pressure and tread depth.
“As before, extensions to TECs will be added to the DVA system, not issued in hard copy. For all vehicles with TECs applied, the DVA will issue a reminder notice to the registered keeper of the vehicle before the TEC period ends, with instructions on how to book a test.”
Stop and think this Farm Safety Week
This week marks the 9th annual Farm Safety Week and Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots and Economy Minister Gordon Lyons have met with farmer Derek Robinson whose son came close to losing his life when he was overcome with slurry fumes.
Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots said: “Since January 2015 there have been 35 fatalities on farms in Northern Ireland and that is just too many. It is vital that we encourage all those working in the farming industry to stop and think about farm safety. By taking some simple precautions we can reduce the number of people killed and injured on our farms.
“As someone who has spent a lifetime working in the farming industry, I am well aware of the satisfaction and joy working on the farm can bring, but I also know that, all too quickly, it can turn into a nightmare if you aren’t careful with your equipment and your surroundings.
“I would encourage everyone to take the time now, to be extra careful and vigilant. It is vital that farmers pause and think about what they are doing before beginning work with livestock, machinery or slurry.”
Farm Safety Week is an awareness raising event that sees the Farm Safety Partnerships, Farm Safety Foundation, Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland and the Health and Safety Authority Ireland joining forces to drive the fundamental message of safety within the agricultural community home.
Economy Minister Gordon Lyons added: “Farm Safety Week is significant in helping to focus attention on farm safety and the measures that can be taken to ensure everyone is kept safe and out of harm’s reach.
“Derek’s story is important in that it highlights the fact that while many farms are work places they are also family homes bringing additional risks and considerations. With school summer holidays upon us it is critical we are even more mindful of children on the farm and ensure all is done to avoid accidents and injury.”
Stay Safe During Hot Weather
The First Minister and deputy First Minister have encouraged everyone to stay safe and look out for others during the current spell of very hot weather.
Paul Givan and Michelle O’Neill were speaking after the Met Office issued the first ever warning for extreme heat here.
Executive departments and civil contingency agencies are working to mitigate any potential impacts to health, wellbeing and public services.
First Minister Paul Givan said: “After a difficult time for the whole community, it is understandable that people want to be out and about across Northern Ireland during this period of hot, dry weather. We want everyone to enjoy the sunshine, but it is very important that everyone does it safely.
Extreme heat can have serious consequences for people’s health, public services and the environment. So we ask everyone to take steps to protect themselves. Don’t take risks that could potentially be dangerous for you, your family or the wider community.”
Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said: “We have been experiencing an unprecedented heatwave and temperatures here are set to escalate even further in the coming days. It is vitally important that we all follow the advice that will help to keep everyone safe.
“Of course many people are keen to experience the good weather, but we ask everyone to take care of themselves, and others so that no one comes to any harm as a result of the extreme heat. Please check in on anyone who might be more vulnerable, including older family, friends and neighbours.”
Information and advice for people during the extreme heat warning is available at: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/news/extreme-heat-warning-information-and-advice