THE DVLA has issued an urgent warning to anyone that holds a driving licence in the UK as it issues a fresh statement.
The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency has said anyone who submits paper applications to renew their driver’s licences could see a 10-week wait to receive their documents.
It also said the huge delays would also apply to paper applications by motorists changing their name and address.
The DVLA said the combination of industrial action and ongoing social distancing requirements has led to “continuing delays with paper applications.”
The agency said in a statement on its Government website that most paper applications “are likely to take 6 to 10 weeks to process” but there may be longer delays for “more complex transactions such as those that require medical investigations”.
It added: “We’re sorry for any inconvenience caused but we are working as quickly as we can to deal with your application.
“We receive around 60,000 items of mail every day that needs to be opened and processed.”
‘No delay’ to online applications’
The DVLA says there is no delay to online applications and advises customers to use its online services “where possible”.
Most motorists waiting for their applications to be processed are still allowed to drive.
The Times reports “about 1.4 million” applications are affected by the backlog.
A DVLA spokesperson said: “Our online services have not been impacted by the pandemic and continue to run as normal and without any delays. The majority of transactions can be done online including renewing a driving licence.
“There are delays in processing paper applications due to ongoing industrial action and social distancing requirements, which means that we have had fewer staff than usual on site at any one time.
“Paper applications are taking on average, between six and ten weeks to process but there may be longer delays for more complex transactions such as those that require medical investigations.”
Members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) at the agency’s offices in Swansea have been taking industrial action over Covid-safety measures.
The spokesperson added: “It’s disappointing that the PCS is choosing to continue with industrial action and targeting services that will have the greatest negative impact on the public, including some of the more vulnerable people in society.
“As restrictions are easing and life is returning to normal, millions of people right across the UK, from those applying for their first provisional driving licence, to traders selling cars, are relying on essential DVLA services.
“PCS’s demands are causing significant and unnecessary disruption to families and businesses, all at a time when they are most needed.”