DRIVING instructors have described how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted upon them and their learners.

The UK Government confirmed driving lessons and theory tests were able to restart on July 4 in England, and car driving tests will restart from July 22.

But a date for the resumption of Welsh lessons and tests has not yet been confirmed.

Donald Bartley, of Acorn School of Motoring, said the situation has been frustrating for his pupils.

"We shut down on March 23 and we have not worked since then. "We're still waiting on the Welsh Government to give us permission to come back and we have had no information to pass to pupils - it's very frustrating.

"I had 25 pupils when it happened and it's been very difficult for them.

"England has been able to go back and we now have people asking when they can start. "They're not happy about it. It should be the same for everyone. "A number of them had booked their tests and had them cancelled. "With them not driving for three months they will need time to get going again before they re-book."

Describing the safety precautions he expects to be putting place, he continued: "The car will be fully sanitized between each pupil. Both pupil and instructor will have to wear a face mask as well.

"But this is just the information we have had from England, we've had nothing from the Welsh Government or the DVSA."

Stuart Walker, of Wrexham-based companies Walker Driving Skills and Ultra Adventure Driving, teaches 4x4 and lorry drivers.

He said: "On our 4x4 training sites we are going to have to take a lot of time trimming back weeds and branches, because normally we train with the vehicle's windows closed.

"But we will now be training with the windows open and we can't have drivers getting hit with branches.

"That's going to cost a lot of money straight away. "In the lorry tuition the instructor and learner are further apart than in a car but we'll have to use seat covers, hand gels, masks and gloves and it is going to take time to disinfect the vehicle which will mean more money needed to operate.

"I'm hoping we will be able to swap lorries over so while the next pupil is having their lesson the vehicle from the last one can be cleaned."

A DVSA spokesman said: “Driving lessons, theory tests and driving tests are still suspended in Wales, in line with guidance from the devolved administration. We will keep this under review.

“Driving instructors in Wales should limit instruction to key workers preparing for an essential driving test.”

A Welsh Government spokesman said: “We recognise the importance of getting driving instructors back to work and to allow lessons to be restarted so candidates are prepared for their tests. "We are working closely with the DVSA on how the restart can happen in Wales and continue to review when it will be safe for learners, instructors and examiners to do so.”

At a recent Welsh Government briefing, First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “Driving instructors in Wales have been at work during the coronavirus crisis because they have been able to teach key workers and they have been able to take tests during the crisis.

“There is nothing in the regulations that prevents driving instructors in Wales from operating from today.

"The reason they don’t operate today is because we don’t have an agreed set of measures in place with the industry to make it operate safely."

The First Minister said driving lessons and instructors are on the list of things the Welsh Government had been talking about last week and this week.

He continued: "It is a matter of us trying to weigh up how many things we can add to the list which I will announce next Friday [July 10].

“We will now be looking at the advice that has been provided for our colleagues in England and if we are satisfied that driving lessons can be resumed safely then we will certainly be considering that alongside other that may form part of the next announcement.”