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Wheels: Six-month MoT extension ends tomorrow

THE coronavirus MoT extension — that saw MoT certificates for cars due a test from March 30 automatically extended by six months — comes to an tomorrow, August 1. Cars due an MoT before that day will still have the extension applied to them, though, effectively meaning their MoT certificates are valid for 18 months.

The move to bring the extension to an end followed warnings from garage groups based on MoT failure rates, that around 1.6million unroadworthy vehicles would return to the UK’s roads as lockdown eases.

Announcing an end date for the scheme a month ago, roads minister Baroness Vere said: ‘As people return to our roads, it is vital that motorists are able to keep their vehicles safe. That’s why as restrictions are eased, from August 1 MoT testing will again become mandatory.’

Baroness Vere added: ‘Garages across the country are open and I urge drivers who are due for their MoT to book a test as soon they can.’

The decision was announced shortly after the Independent Garage Association (IGA) called for an immediate end to the six-month extension, warning that with people increasingly returning to the roads, ‘it is not safe for cars to remain unchecked.’

The IGA’s call, as well as warnings from garage chain Kwik Fit, are likely to have influenced the Department for Transport’s move.

In May, Kwik Fit estimated that 1,096,000 vehicles that were subject to the automatic six-month MoT extension at the end of March would have failed their test based on historical MoT pass-rate data, a figure that the IGA estimated had grown to 1.6million by mid-June, as more and more cars would have been due their test.

Both the IGA and Kwik Fit had supported the MoT extension when it was introduced, but the IGA’s chief executive, Stuart James, recently said: ‘Garages are not “close proximity” venues. They have been allowed to remain open throughout the whole pandemic and are following official safe working guidelines, so the MoT exemption should be removed as soon as feasibly possible.’

Roger Griggs, communications director at Kwik Fit, argued that while the extension ‘has been very helpful to drivers during the lockdown’ mandatory testing should be reintroduced in the interests of road safety.

The end of the six-month extension is the latest symptom of the easing of lockdown and follows news that driving lessons would be restarting from July 4.

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