Scatsta Airport looks set to become the new site for large goods vehicle and motorbike tests – a decision likely to leave the isles without instructors for the tests.
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has picked Scatsta to replace the former Anderson High School car park for module one bike and vocational driving tests from next month.
But that decision comes against a backdrop of scathing criticism from instructors Petur Petursson and Steven Henry along with MP Alistair Carmichael – who say the new site is unviable, unworkable, and raises serious safety concerns.
The instructors say they would be left with a near 90-minute round-trip to the new test site from town, and have questioned the logistics of getting trailers, lorries, buses and motorbikes up to Scatsta and back for training or tests.
Mr Petursson, who runs Drive Shetland Training, said that he was “finished” from the end of this month because of the DVSA’s decision.
“I won’t be doing it anymore,” he said.
“I’m done. I’m finished.”
And Mr Henry, who runs Shetland Motorbike Training, said the Scatsta decision would put him “completely out of business”.
“Can you imagine a youngster having to drive all the way up to Scatsta and then having to do their test?
“It’s just not going to work.”
Asked what the outcome would be of the DVSA choosing Scatsta, Mr Henry replied: “There will be nobody doing tests. It’s as simple as that.”
Mr Carmichael described the DVSA’s attitude towards Shetland as “utterly disgraceful”.
The DVSA said that finding a suitable site in Shetland had been “very challenging”, but their priority had been to provide a continued service in the isles while balancing costs.
“We have worked closely with the local authority and have agreed a site from which to deliver motorcycle and lorry tests from 31st July 2021.”
The SIC said it could not confirm whether the DVSA will be taking over Scatsta from next month, but added that “discussions are continuing”.