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Island ‘to follow Jersey on MOT-style testing’

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MOT-style testing for cars and international permits for driving in the EU are on the cards as Guernsey and Jersey look to meet international standards by the end of March.

Environment & Infrastructure president Barry Brehaut has said Guernsey was likely to mirror any legislation made by Jersey.

Fresh details emerged yesterday of how Jersey intends to meet the standards to have the Vienna Convention extended to it, with Guernsey’s Environment & Infrastructure president Barry Brehaut then saying Guernsey was likely to mirror any legislation made by that island.

In March, the Guernsey Press reported on the potential need for MOT-style testing for local drivers to be able to continue driving in Europe after Brexit.

Jersey are working to have the Vienna Convention extended to it on 28 March 2019 and say Guernsey are seeking to follow suit.

If approved, Jersey’s new law would introduce tests to ensure that vehicles less than 40 years old meet minimum standards of roadworthiness, introduce international driving permits to allow anyone holding a Jersey driving licence to drive legally in the EU, introduce registration for commercial trailers weighing more than 0.75 tonnes and domestic trailers weighing more than 3.5 tonnes if they are driven on the Continent, and enforce the wearing of seatbelts in commercial vehicles.

Jersey Infrastructure minister Kevin Lewis announced his plans to propose the law following a public comment alluding to Channel Islands vehicle testing made by Deputy Brehaut yesterday morning.

In response, Deputy Brehaut said: ‘We will run a parallel course to Jersey and the likelihood is we will mirror what happens there.

‘What we take for granted here is that we can travel through Europe under our current licences.

‘In the UK and in Guernsey we are covered. But once Brexit happens and the UK is out of the European Union, this won’t be the case and we won’t be.

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‘Then it is down to the States to either provide the facilities for us to be able to drive legally in Europe, or we will have to bring in a similar MOT system to what they have in the UK.’

When asked what the costs might be to the motorist, Deputy Brehaut said at this moment the key area was making sure island motorists could drive legally.

Costs could include funds needed to set up an adequate testing facility with specialist equipment, drivers’ registration costs and any necessary compliance repairs to their vehicles, and the administrative cost of issuing international driving permits.

As yet, very few details on the suggested practical implementation of the law have been given in either island.

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It is understood that the governments of Guernsey and Jersey have been working together on plans to introduce EU-compliant roadworthiness tests for Channel Islands vehicles but had not been ready to discuss the issue in detail.

Chair of Jersey’s Environment Scrutiny Panel, Mike Jackson, said that there is going to be ‘a significant impact’ and, until that has been quantified, his panel would not be supporting the law.

Any testing facility would need to assess whether vehicles are compliant with the United Nation’s Vienna Convention on Motor Traffic.

This would involve meeting as yet unspecified ‘international standards for vehicle safety and roadworthiness’.

These might include complying with environmental guidelines, as well as tests on brakes, lights and tyres.

Deputy Lewis said that Brexit had been the catalyst for the proposed changes, while a government announcement added that ‘the UK has already taken action to protect the rights of its motorists and Guernsey is following suit’.

The UK changes, which were introduced in May, include new defect types, stricter rules for diesel car emissions, and some vehicles over 40 years old becoming exempt.

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