A firefighting vehicle designed for reaching heights could be removed from Llandrindod Wells Fire Station, creating a "black spot" for the entirety of Mid Wales and risking the safety of both firefighters and the public, a local firefighter has warned.

A retained firefighter, who was present at a station visit announcing the plans to remove Llandrindod Well's only aerial ladder platform, has expressed their concerns for what the loss of the vehicle could mean.

Aerial rescue platforms consist of ladders which are mechanically operated and have a platform at the end for firefighters to stand on. The ladders are mounted onto a fire truck and help firefighters to reach higher heights.

The ALP is thought to be around 15 years old and will probably remain on the road for the next 12 to 15 months. It's reported that it will be removed, and not immediately replaced, due to funding issues.

The firefighter, who wishes to remain anonymous, said that the change would "bring a massive black spot" to "not only Powys but all over Mid Wales". "That's what's scaring us," they said.

The "black spot" would be created because of a lack of other aerial ladder platforms nearby. The firefighter said that it would take ALPs "well over an hour to get to us" if the plans to remove the one in Llandrindod goes ahead.

Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service has three other aerial rescue provisions. There are modern aerial ladder platforms based at Swansea West and Haverfordwest fire stations and an older model, like the one in Llandrindod Wells, at Aberystwyth Fire Station.

There is also an ALP in Hereford, which is part of a different fire and rescue service, but often serves in Mid Wales. There are reports that the Hereford station could lose its ALP too, causing even more concern that Mid Wales could be left without cover.

The ALP could move to Worcester, which the Llandrindod Wells firefighter said "wouldn't affect Hereford", as it is nearby, but would impact the Mid Wales area.

The firefighter said: "We don't need it in an hours time, we need it there and then."

The Llandrindod Wells ALP has been used at a number a large fires recently, including the large hotel fire in Aberystwyth, alongside others, and at the Dolgerddon Hall fire in Rhayader, which both happened in July.

"It's not used every day but when it is used it saves lives. It's an asset and if we lose it it's putting a lot of people at risk, and firefighters as well," the firefighter said.

The ALP gets used for a variety of different jobs, from major fires to chimney fires. It is essential for it to be used for fires which are over four stories high, and reduces the risk of firefighters having to use ladders, which are slower and more dangerous, according to the firefighter. There are buildings in the Llandrindod Wells area which are taller than four stories high.

Kirsty Williams, Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for Brecon and Radnorshire, said: “I am concerned about the impact that this could have on the safety of people in this area in the event of a major fire. We need to ensure that our fire-fighters have the necessary equipment to deal with any emergency locally.

“I have arranged an meeting with a Senior Fire Officer later this week and will raise the concerns of those who constituents who have expressed, to me, their deep discomfort at this decision.”

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Rob Quin said: "Through our service review, we have been able to consider a wide range of options to identify the best provision of service to replace these appliances once they reach their end of service life. The provisions that we decide upon must not diminish the level of protection and response to our communities whilst providing the best value for money to the taxpayer.

"Consultation with neighbouring fire and rescue services, regarding their integrated risk management plans, has taken place and fully considered as part of this process.

"I am delighted to accept Kirsty Williams AM’s request for a meeting and will meet with her at the end of this week to discuss how we intend to provide our firefighters and the communities of mid and west Wales with the best equipment to ensure their safety."