MoT lift failures in Northern Ireland cost taxpayers millions

All MoT tests in Northern Ireland had to be cancelled last year when it emerged the majority of vehicle lifts in the region were faulty


A widespread series of vehicle lift failures in Northern Ireland last year that saw MoT testing in the region suspended ended up costing millions of pounds of taxpayer money, it has been revealed.

In January 2020, all Northern Irish MoT tests – of which there are usually around 1,500 per day – were suspended after cracks were found in 52 of the 55 vehicle lifts in MoT centres across the country.

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A new report by the Stormont Public Accounts Committee (PAC) shows that this initially cost the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) £3.9 million. This included £2.95 million lost from suspended MoT tests, which are the DVA’s main source of income, and £980,000 of compensation that had to be paid out.

The DVA then had to spend a further £1.8 million replacing the 52 faulty lifts, meaning the total cost resulting from the problem ended up being even higher.

The faults were blamed on metal fatigue and an inadequate inspection regime, with the PAC saying in its report that it was “deeply concerned that the DVA had not projected the lifespan of crucial equipment and did not have a phased replacement plan in place”.

The PAC has now recommended an estimated lifespan of all MoT equipment be determined, with a phased replacement plan implemented. It also wants to see the DVA’s future contracts with suppliers include strong performance and penalty clauses, plus a Department for Infrastructure review into the DVA’s effectiveness.

The report added: “The Committee finds it ironic that an organisation in the business of testing the roadworthiness of vehicles was not able to ensure its own equipment was being properly maintained.”

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