Apology for unplanned flaring at Fife chemical plant

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The owners of the Mossmorran plant at Cowdenbeath have apologised after residents complained of noise and disruption from unexpected flaring.

The process, whereby natural gas that cannot be processed or sold is burned off, had begun on Monday morning without the normal prior notification given to communities living within the plant’s vicinity.

One concerned resident from Auchtertool contacted the Fife Free press complaining that the noise was “terrible”.

A spokesman from ExxonMobil Chemical Limited apologised any inconvenience or concern caused by the flaring and said it would be completed before the weekend.

Speaking yesterday evening, he said: “The flaring is a result of a process upset on the plant on Monday morning, and is an essential part of the plant’s safety systems.

“There is no danger to local communities or employees.

“We are currently in the process of resuming normal operations, and anticipate completion within the next 36 hours.

“We would like to assure residents it is our aim to keep flaring to a minimum.”

But this latest spell of unplanned flaring has led to local community group from Lochgelly begin discussions with individuals, ​voluntary groups, Fife Council and SEPA to establish the independent citizen-led Mossmorran Action Group.

James Glen from community group Loch of Shining Waters said the new group aims to “better represent residents and seek redress for some of the long-term negative impacts caused by operations at Mossmorran”.

He added: “Some within our communities are concerned that c​ouncillors are inert on this major issue, and feel that the corporations have run roughshod over our local communities for years.

“ExxonMobil deny there are any health impacts, yet offer no definitive study to back-up their claims. The corporation and some of our elected apologists focus solely on air quality impacts and ignore the immediate and measurable impacts from the noise, vibration and light pollution that residents are forced to endure with little respite and no compensation.”

George Kinnell treasurer of Shining Waters said the plant was well past it’s expiry date.

“It is no surprise that ​we are again in the midst of a major “process upset” or extended period of emergency flaring,” he added.