Cautious welcome for practical tests plan

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Angus MP Mike Weir has given a cautious welcome to an announcement from the Department of Transport to conduct a trial to provide practical car tests in selected areas that no longer have a local test centres.

Mr Weir, who strongly and successfully opposed the proposal to close the Arbroath and Forfar Driving Test Centres, said that he believed that such an approach could have benefits.

“The Department eventually saw the error of their ways with the proposals to shut the Arbroath and Forfar driving test centres, but there are many other areas that do not have a test centre.

“When the Minister first floated this idea I did point out that Brechin, for example, had lost its centre some years ago and such a system could open up the possibility of tests being carried out in the city again.

“I believe it is vital that candidates get a good grounding in practical driving in the areas in which they are most likely to drive.

“These proposals could offer an improvement in the current situation, and hopefully strengthen the future of Arbroath and Forfar as main bases for tests. I will be watching the outcome of the trials with interest”.

The Department of Transport is planning trials in seven locations across the UK, including Ayrshire and Dumbarton in Scotland.

They say that the trials will be monitored to assess any impact on levels of customer service and the cost of delivery, as well as making sure the integrity of the test is maintained.

Thereafter the department will decide if they are to be rolled out to other areas without a test centre.

“Clearly it will be quite some time before a final decision is made but this may leave open the possibility of extending the areas of Angus where tests can be carried out”, added Mr Weir.