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Saving the trees: paper MOT certificate axed

  • MOT passes should now only be viewed online
  • Failure certificates can still be issued
  • 4,000 trees could be saved

Written by Graham King Published: 7 May 2024 Updated: 7 May 2024

Garages will no longer issue paper MOT certificates as a matter of course. Instead, car owners will be encouraged to view details of a pass online. The new rules brought in by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) are intended to reduce fraud and help the environment by saving a truly vast amount of paper.

The change came into effect on 29 April 2024, having been announced to garages by the DVSA in December 2023. According to head of MOT policy, Chris Price, some 34.5 million light vehicle MOT tests were conducted between 2022 and 2023, which consumed over 4,000 trees in A4 paper certificates.

Mr Price added that ending paper certificates would make the MOT process slicker and ‘minimise opportunities for fraud.’ He also noted that garages would save money on paper and printer ink.

Issuing a paper certificate for an MOT pass has actually been optional since September 2021, but the practice continued on a near-universal basis. Now, though, garages have been told to direct car owners to the Government’s MOT history check website to see the details of their car’s MOT pass, including any advisory notices.

MOT station in London - Paper MOT certificate axed
Garages will now encourage car owners to view MOT certificates online.

The DVSA’s guidance also indicates that garages have ‘the flexibility to not issue a paper fail certificate if the customer is able and willing to view the vehicle’s MOT record and history online.’

However, garages can still issue a paper certificate for ‘complex or multiple failures,’ to help make it clear exactly what problems need fixing. The advice further notes that customers should be able to choose what works best for them. Paper records must still be issued if a car fails the emissions test element of the MOT.

What this means for you

Not being issued with a paper MOT pass certificate may be a bit disconcerting for some, but you can still ask the garage to provide one – don’t be surprised if you’re charged for it. Otherwise, you need to refer to the MOT history check website, which is a doddle to use. Just enter your car’s registration number and you’ll be able to see its whole MOT history, dating as far back as 2007.

Paper copies of certificates can be downloaded from the website – you’ll need the 11-digit reference number from your car’s V5C registration document to do so. We recommend keeping paper copies of all your car’s MOT certificates in its service history file.

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