‘Ensure skills are here for ‘‘MOT’’ tests’

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Earlier this month, panel members met representatives from the Island’s motor industry to discuss a States proposition calling for the introduction of regular vehicle inspections.

The proposition was put forward to allow the Island to conform with the Vienna Convention ahead of Brexit and ensure the free movement of Jersey vehicles through Europe.

However, garage owners warned that they struggled to recruit enough staff to carry out their day-to-day duties already, without the additional burden of a test system being in place.

The manager of one dealership warned that unless there was a sudden increase in skilled workers, the States might have to consider bringing staff to Jersey from abroad on licence.

Now the Environment, Housing and Infrastructure Scrutiny Panel has released a number of comments on the proposal.

According to one recommendation, it says: ‘The panel would recommend to the Minister for Infrastructure to prioritise further collaboration with Highlands College, to look at ways to encourage young people into the motor industry and bring through more apprentices. Furthermore, to explore the possibility of temporary flexibility with employment licensing, to bring in skilled workers whilst there is the current shortage of skills within the industry.’

The document also gives reasons why Jersey should conform to the Vienna Convention and why vehicles that do not leave the Island must also be tested.

Peter Tabb, president of the Motor Trades Federation, said: ‘I do not see any other way of letting us have free movement in Europe because [from] what I have read, and what we have had presented to us, there is no other alternative.

‘What a lot of garages and what a lot of people are saying is “Why do we not just test the cars that leave the Island?’’

‘That is the question I get day in, day out, whether they are motor traders or whether they are just people in the street. They do not realise that joining up to the convention says the jurisdiction has to have testing.’

And the panel concluded that signing up to the Vienna Convention was the best and safest option for Jersey.

‘Ultimately, the panel believes the decision to accept this proposition and contract to Vienna to be a mitigation of risk in case of a “hard Brexit”.

‘The alternative is that we wait to see what scale of impact Brexit might have, and make a decision at a future point

in time.’

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