Over a two-week period, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency’s (DVLA) have clamped almost 30 untaxed vehicles in the Fermanagh area.

As part of their day-to-day enforcement the DVLA’s national wheel clamping partner, NSL, clamps or impounds any untaxed vehicles seen on the road. From August 1 to August 14, a spokesman for the DVLA confirmed that 27 vehicles have been clamped as part of the NSL’s activity in the BT70 to BT94 postcode areas and that this enforcement activity remains ongoing.

The DVLA spokesman said: “It is a legal requirement for customers to license their vehicles if they are being used or kept on the public road, and wheel clamping is one of a range of enforcement measures we use against untaxed vehicles. While over 98 per cent of vehicles on the road are taxed correctly, it is right that we take action against those who don’t tax their vehicles and then drive them.”

He continued: “We don’t need to spot a vehicle on the road to take enforcement action but if we do, wheel clamping is an effective way to make sure that an untaxed vehicle is not driven on the road.”

Sinn Féin Councillor Anthony Feely was approached by a member of the public who’s vehicle had been clamped in Enniskillen town centre because it had not been taxed. He said: “A couple of weeks ago I was up in Enniskillen and I seen a van clamped and I walked down the street and I seen another car clamped.”

Councillor Feely explained that the owner of the car that was clamped knew him and called him over. “He told me the reason why he hadn’t had the car taxed was because he can’t get it MOT’d as there’s a three or four week of a backlog. So he reckons it wasn’t his fault,” he said.

In response to this, a spokesman for the DVLA stated: “It is a legal requirement that a MOT is in place, if required, when taxing a vehicle. A vehicle cannot be used on a public road if it is untaxed.”

A spokesman for the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) said: “The Driver and Vehicle Agency has been keeping the DVLA informed of MOT waiting times in Northern Ireland and has been engaging on the potential implications for local drivers attempting to tax their vehicles.”

He continued: “The Agency has introduced a number of operational measures to address the increase in waiting times with additional appointments during the week, on Sundays and on bank holidays.”

Councillor Feely added: “I urge people to be careful and to try and apply for their MOT on time or to take cancellations.”

Wheel clamping is one of a range of enforcement measures the DVLA use against untaxed vehicles.

The DVLA spokesman said: “Where we clamp an untaxed vehicle the motorist will have to pay a release fee of £100 and - if they cannot show that the vehicle has been taxed - a surety fee of £160. The surety fee is refunded if the motorist is able to show that the vehicle has been taxed within 15 days of the vehicle’s release.”

He continued: “If the release fee has not been paid, we’ll impound the vehicle. The release fee will then rise to £200 and there will be a storage charge of £21 per day. Again, a surety fee of £160 must be paid if the motorist cannot show that the vehicle has been taxed.”

“If a vehicle is declared off the road (SORN) it must be kept off the road, on private land,” the spokesman concluded.