A COASTAL path adapted for emergency vehicles is not wide enough and could lead to dangers for residents, a prospective councillor for a Monmouthshire village has said.
Rachel Garrick, a prospective cllr for Portskewett, said she is concerned the route, widened between Sudbrook and Black Rock last year, is too narrow for fire engines.
The three-metre wide path, off Black Rock Road - leading to the Black Rock picnic site - was also given an entrance and an exit after residents were left trapped for four-and-a-half hours when a 126-tonne truck came into difficulty crossing a small steel bridge.
The Sudbrook Road bridge is the only way in and out of Sudbrook, and the situation prompted action from Monmouthshire County Council in case it became blocked again.
But Ms Garrick says even though police cars and ambulances can fit through when using the path, fire engines will not be able to. She believes a substation next to the path also poses a danger.
“I have significant concerns over the practicality of bringing a fire tender through the entrance in an emergency if the bridge to Sudbrook is closed,” she said.
“These concerns are heightened due to the positioning of 132kV transformers next to the coastal path entrance.
“As a chartered health and safety professional with several year’s experience of electricity distribution I am aware of the level of emergency when a transformer of this size fails.
“If an emergency of this sort transpired whilst the village is cut off by road, it would be essential that engines as well as fire tenders can gain access.”
But Monmouthshire council’s group engineer for highways, Paul Keeble, said the coastal path has been “identified as a short-term provision” while the council takes time to “seek a long-term solution”.
He said: “Discussions with the South Wales Fire and Rescue Service identified that because of the limited width and the close proximity of the track to the cliff edge this route is unsuitable to accommodate the standard fire attendant required to deal with a house fire.
“However, we hope that the improvements to the coastal path and the facility to provide an emergency access (police and ambulance services) to the village will offer some comfort to the residents of Sudbrook.”
Council leader Peter Fox added: “The opening of the coastal path for emergency vehicles between Sudbrook and Black Rock is an initial solution; however we will continue working to find a more suitable long term solution.”