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Vehicle Roadworthiness Testing a report by the environment, housing and infrastructure scrutiny panel

We are the Environment, Housing and Infrastructure Scrutiny Panel. It's our role to scrutinise Jersey's government on matters of public importance, policy and legislation which falls within these three remits.

Over the last several weeks we have been scrutinising the Minister for Infrastructure's proposals for Jersey to sign up to the United Nations Vienna Convention on Road Traffic, which if adopted, will mean the introduction of vehicle roadworthiness tests for Jersey motorists. The catalyst for these proposals has been Brexit and potential implications that the free movement of Jersey motorists in Europe will be hindered once the United Kingdom leaves the European Union next March. The Minister released this short video, explaining the proposals:

The main aim of our scrutiny review was to explore whether signing up to the Vienna Convention was the best solution for Jersey, or whether other suitable options could be considered.

After investigation, the Panel has concluded that there is no suitable alternative option available to Jersey which would entirely guarantee free movement for Jersey motorists in Croatia, Estonia, Germany, Latvia and Lithuania, post-Brexit.

However, with the true extent the impact Brexit might have for Jersey motorists still largely unknown, the Panel believes the decision to sign up to the Vienna Convention to be a mitigation of risk. The alternative being for Jersey to wait and see and make a decision at a future point in time.

Vehicle testing: other benefits to the island?

In a public hearing held with the Minister for Infrastructure, the Panel heard evidence suggesting that the introduction of road worthiness testing could be an additional measure to improve the Island's road safety.

"There is no single measure that will on its own improve Jersey's road safety issues, rather there is a range of measures that will each contribute to marginal improvements, but as a whole can significantly improve road safety. Road worthiness testing is one of these." - Director, Transport - Growth, Housing and Environment

Environmental benefits

The Panel also heard evidence in public hearings and written submissions to suggest that road worthiness testing would help to some degree with reducing vehicle emissions and improving air quality - although the extent of these benefits is unknown at this stage.

States run facility vs. outsourced to motor industry?

The proposals are currently lacking in essential detail, such as whether vehicle testing is likely to be carried out at a States run facility or outsourced to the motor industry. It's also unknown precisely how much the tests will cost Jersey motorists, with only indicative costs of between £40-60 being provided.

The Panel has requested the Minister keeps the Panel abreast of the procurement options which are presented to Treasury as this will ultimately decide which option presents the best value for money for the Island. Furthermore, the Panel has recommended that the motor industry be fully consulted with as part of the procurement process.

Concerning the fees charged for tests, the Panel has recommended that if testing were to be outsourced to the motor industry, there should be independent oversight from the States of Jersey to control the fees.

Staffing and recruitment challenges

One of the key concerns raised in submissions by the motor industry was that there is a current shortage of skilled workers and that the introduction of testing could place further strain on staffing and recruitment.

These concerns were echoed by the Jersey Motor Trades Federation in a public hearing held by the Panel.

The Panel has recommended that the Minister prioritise further collaboration with Highlands College to look at ways to encourage young people to train in the motor industry and bring through more apprentices. In addition, to explore the possibility of temporary flexibility with employment licencing to help with the current shortage.

The Panel has submitted its Comments paper to the help inform States Members before the States debate on 20 November 2018. Should the proposals be adopted by the Assembly, the Panel intends to follow up with the Minister for Infrastructure on the report's recommendations over the coming months.

Panel Membership

Left to right: Constable Mike Jackson (Chairman), Constable John Le Maistre (Vice-chairman), Constable Sadie Le Sueur-Rennard, Deputy Kirsten Morel

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