Plans to offer practical driving tests from fire stations were given the go ahead today by Road Safety Minister Stephen Hammond.

Driving tests will be available from the Salford fire station in Greater Manchester every Tuesday and Thursday from 16 April. A number of other fire stations in the Manchester area could also offer tests in the future. All tests will be conducted by DSA examiners.

The move is part of an initiative to offer a more local service for driving test candidates. As well as using conventional test centres, the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) is working with public and private sector partners to provide driving tests in areas that don’t have a local test centre.

Practical driving tests are already available from some branches of Halfords, and earlier this month Nottingham Trent University also started hosting tests.

Road Safety Minister, Stephen Hammond, said:

“By working alongside Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service the Driving Standards Agency is ensuring people taking their driving test have access to a more convenient option.

“This partnership is a great example of how the public sector can work together to reduce costs and provide a better service.”

Chair of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Authority, Councillor David Acton, said:

“This is a really exciting partnership as GMFRS is the first fire service in the country to see its stations host driving tests.

“It’s an example of the Service’s innovative approach to road safety, because firefighters are called to road traffic collisions to cut people from the wreckage of cars and sadly many of them involve young drivers.”

The government recently consulted on proposals to improve the way all motoring services are delivered. The Motoring Services Strategy consultation outlined long term proposals to put customers firmly at the heart of the way motoring services are delivered, so that they best serve the consumer while getting the best possible deal for the taxpayer. The government’s response to the consultation is due to be published in the summer.