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Sun corrects false story on MOT tests

April 14th, 2014

The Sun on Saturday 12 April published the following correction: “In an article MoT fix axe fears (March 30) we quoted a letter from UKIP containing claims that thousands of MoT test centres could close under EU proposals forcing motorists whose cars fail to go to a different garage for repairs. We have been informed that no such EU proposals exist and are happy to set the record straight”.

For the avoidance of doubt, here is the relevant passage of the legal text now agreed between the EU institutions, which changes nothing in the UK:

“Member States may prescribe requirements regarding the separation of activities or authorise a private body to perform both roadworthiness tests and vehicle repairs, even on the same vehicle in cases where the supervising body has established to its satisfaction that a high level of objectivity is maintained.” The full text is here:

The idea that forced separation of testing and repairs was proposed has been a longstanding myth first set out in a letter from UKIP to the Daily Mail last year. No such proposal was ever made by the Commission or voted by the European Parliament, let alone by Member States.  The Mail – to its credit – published a letter from us pointing out the facts:

“Contrary to Mr Tony Smith of UKIP’s assertions (EU fails the MoT, letters, 9 October 2013), the European Commission is not proposing — and neither is the European Parliament — to prohibit authorised workshops from carrying out MOTs.  So people will still, if they choose, be able to get both their MOT and any necessary repairs done at the same garage.

The practice is common in several EU countries.

Neither is there an EU proposal that British MOTs should fall due based on mileage, rather than time. There will be no change to the annual test unless the UK decides to impose additional tests for vehicles with high mileage, i.e. more than 160,000km.

Having an EU framework for roadworthiness testing ensures standards Europe-wide are high — as they are in the UK — and helps ensure unfit cars from abroad are not driving on UK roads or endangering British motorists in Europe.”

We thank the Sun for dealing with our complaint on the MoT story quickly and effectively.

By contrast, other newspapers – the Sun has not as far as we know published this one – have not yet corrected another inaccurate motoring story published last week, that the EU was set to impose standardised licence plates Europe-wide


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Please note that all statements in all entries were correct on the date of publication given. However, older archived posts are not systematically updated in the light of later developments, for example changes to EU law.

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