Mr Beggs said he was surprised to be advised by officials at the Stormont Infrastructure Committee that after several months they are still ‘assessing risks’ at MOT centres.
The Ulster Unionist transport spokesperson added: “Meanwhile, our private sector garages and mechanics have had to put in suitable policies and provide an necessary PPE to repair vehicles. Public officials seem to be slow to adjust services to enable them to provide necessary services to the public in a safe manner.
“I have also been shocked to learn from officials that there have been no motorcycle driver tests since March. I would urge the minister to ensure that the review of motorcycle testing would be urgently completed so that new safe working practice can be identified and services can be resumed for those seeking a motorcycle driving licence.”
In response, a Department for Infrastructure spokesperson said: “Since the Covid-19 outbreak, the minister has prioritised the safety of the public and staff. As announced at that time, from March 20, in the interest of public safety and to tackle the spread of Covid-19, the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) suspended all driving tests at all DVA testing centres for three months, until June 22.
“No motorcycle tests have therefore been performed in that period. However, a number of measures have been put in place so that, as far as possible, vehicles can be kept on the road safely.
“The DVA has been undertaking a full review of risk assessments for the safe resumption of all services in line with Public Health Agency advice.
“A plan is being finalised for consideration by the minister. Revised processes will be agreed with staff and trade unions before services resume.
“The minister has made it clear that all services, except those in MOT centres currently being used as Covid-19 testing centres, will resume as soon as it is safe to do so. The minister will provide an update on the resumption of DVA services in the coming days.”
A message from the Editor:
Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.
In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper whenever you are able to do so.
Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.
With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper when you can safely.
You can also enjoy unlimited access to the best news from across Northern Ireland and the UK by subscribing to newsletter.co.uk
With a digital subscription, you can read more than five articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit https://www.newsletter.co.uk/subscriptions now to sign up.