ALTHOUGH driving lessons remain suspended – with the exception of key workers – the industry is aiming for July 4 as the provisional date on which learner drivers can get back on the road.

Instructors have now been given guidelines and procedures to enable teaching their students safely.

Richard Sockett, a Hereford-based instructor, said: "We all understand the safety concerns, and the problem we have

with being in close proximity to our pupils.

"But the sector will needs to resume because there are social and economic issues which must be taken into


"Each year about two million people take driving tests, the majority of them in the 17-25 age group.

"It goes without saying that a driving licence is pretty important to your employment prospects, and especially so in a rural area such as Herefordshire, where public transport is very limited.

"The typical test waiting time in Hereford is six to eight weeks, so with three months cancelled already we could be looking at a

six-month waiting list, even if we resumed tomorrow.

"And this is all at a time when we are urged to avoid overcrowding public transport due to the virus transmission risk."

Craig Preedy is chairman of Hereford and District Driving Instructors Association (HADDI), which represents more than 50

driving instructors in Herefordshire. He said: "The past 13 weeks have been an exceptionally challenging time for us all.

"With no way of working, we have relied very much on what the Government has had to offer in terms of self-employment

grants, bounce-back loans and universal credit. But not all driving instructors have been eligible for this financial support."

Paul from Paul's 5 Star driving is frustrated: " Communication has not been great from the DVSA, nobody wants to be bombarded every week with we can not continue, but six week gaps between key messages has been too little.

"After all as driving instructors we pay this department every three years to be on the register of approved driving instructors. Creating for them a multi million pound industry."

Paul spoke to each of his 43 pupils at the start, midway point when he thought lessons might recommence by phone.

He now continues to message his pupils every two to three weeks, and provides multiple Facebook updates.