Research reveals shortage of MOT test stations

Research reveals shortage of MOT test stations

Research has revealed on average there are 642 vehicles to one MOT test station in the UK, causing increasing strain on mechanics and drivers. 

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) recently reported a decline in the number of MOT authorised Vehicle Testing Stations (VTSs) operating in the UK. The availability of test centres has reportedly been dropping steadily in recent years, and from 2020-2021, the number was at its lowest since 2016.

MOT test stations are essential for drivers. Without them, a huge proportion of the country’s cars would not legally be on the road. Over the past 25 years, the amount of cars in Great Britain has risen 39.6% and if growth continues at the same pace, there could be 45 million cars on roads by 2045.

Gophr has conducted research to uncover where in the UK has a shortage of VTSs, meaning that not only will Nominated Testers (NTs) be overstretched and struggling to meet demand in these areas, but drivers will be forced to travel far out of their local area just to get an MOT test.

To find this information, it looked at data shared by the DVSA and calculated the number of cars per MOT testing stations and testers throughout the UK.

The analysis revealed Bromley was the area with the highest concentration of cars for every test centre. In the South London town, there are 2,436 cars for every test centre, which puts immense pressure on all 59 centres to service and get cars back on the road. Sutton, also a town located in South London, had a similarly high concentration, with 2,073 cars for every MOT test centre.

This was followed by the Yorkshire city of Leeds, which had 1,722 vehicles to every MOT outlet, meaning it is likely locals will have to travel a long way out of their local area for their annual MOT and test centres may be greatly struggling to meet demand. Fourth on the list was the Scottish town of Lerwick, which is the main town and port of Shetland. Here, there are over 1,600 cars per MOT test centre.

The 10 most concentrated towns and cities, based on the number of vehicles to MOT test stations and testers, according to Gophr were:

Town/city No. of vehicles to MOT test stations and testers
1 Bromley 2,436
2 Sutton 2,073
3 Leeds 1,722
4 Lerwick 1,670
5 Slough 1,624
6 Wigan 1,580
7 Sunderland 1,433
8 Milton Keynes 1,425
9 Stockport 1,392
10 North Lanarkshire and Motherwell 1,284

Of all the areas analysed in the study, the easiest place for drivers to book in an MOT at late notice was Norwich. Here there are only 158 cars per MOT centre, 94% less than in Bromley which had the highest accumulation.

With the introduction of an expanded Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) in London, drivers may be forced to either sell their vehicles or get their cars serviced outside of the capital to avoid the £12.50 daily charge. This will negatively affect the MOT centres in London, who will find they receive less business due to lower demand while also increasing stress on centres outside of the ULEZ zone.

In London specifically, the North West, which includes the boroughs Barnet, Harrow, Hillingdon, Brent, Ealing, had almost 5,000 cars to one MOT test centre and was the most concentrated overall. East London, which includes Tower Hamlets, Newham, Greenwich, Bexley and Lewisham had the lowest concentration overall with 2,627 cars per MOT centre.

Graham Smith, Strategic Accounts Director at Gophr, said: “We know from our research that mechanics are under increasing stress, and the closing of MOT test stations combined with the demand from the number of vehicles is presenting a challenging situation.

“Speedy delivery of specific car parts is a necessity to completing work quickly, and on demand delivery from an outside partner can help to alleviate the mounting strain on garages and motor factors, especially within these MOT deserts.”

For more information, visit:

Related posts