CALLS have been made for a slip-way in Newport city centre to aid rescues in the River Usk.

Councillor Paul Hannon for Beechwood says he is concerned the job of saving those who find themselves in the water is hampered by the lack of a launch site and slipway in the city centre area.

He said he and Cllr Majid Rahman, both Newport council members on the South Wales Fire and Rescue Authority (SWFRA), "fear that the delays in launching and reaching the rescue site may lead to an avoidable fatality."

However cabinet member for human resources and assets, Cllr Mark Whitcutt, said a previous feasibility study into the idea found a scheme could cost more than a million pounds.

Cllr Hannon said there have been a number of people finding themselves in the river requiring rescue from the fire service - an issue that is growing with the housing developments along the riverbank.

He said crews at the moment have to use a site in Uskmouth.

Cllr Whitcutt, speaking on the matter at a council meeting, said the council previously undertook a feasibility study into a launch area on the river.

However due to the need to procure land and piling to compensate for changes in tide levels the scheme was thought to be "cost prohibitive" and was valued in excess of £1 million.

He said the council would work with partner agencies, in particular the SWFRA, and will co-operate fully in the identification of a suitable site in council ownership.

"But as there is no budget for a scheme of this nature we would need to consider how such a scheme would be funded," he added.