The comments came from Stuart Neill, external affairs manager at Fife Ethylene Plant after extensive criticism over dramatic flaring which was seen as far Dundee and Edinburgh at the end of last week.
The unscheduled flaring sparked further backlash from the Mossmorran Action Group (MAG) and politicians.
MAG said apologies from the plant’s management did “not pacify terrified children or make up for sleepless nights or aggravated breathing conditions.”
Environment watchdog SEPA said the incident did not breach air quality standards, but was “a reminder of why short and medium term solutions are critical to addressing ‘unacceptable flaring.”
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In response, Mr Neill said the extreme flaring was tackled within hours as the plant continued to move towards a re-start having been shutdown last August.
He said: “While such flaring is not unusual during a complex operational re-start, we absolutely understand how it may have caused concern and frustration.
“We have worked hard to keep our neighbours fully informed throughout the restart process, have advised them of the likelihood of flaring during the restart process, and were quick to inform them when it was necessary on Thursday.”
He recognised “the surrounding steam and light caused a dramatic visual effect” but added: “The use of the flare was completely safe and controlled at all times.
“The elevated flaring was addressed within four hours, and we are committed to safely completing the re-start as soon as practicable, while avoiding elevated flaring wherever possible.
“We appreciate that people want us to complete our work quickly. We too look forward to normal operation being restored but we hope that people understand that we cannot compromise safety as we complete the re-start.
“The comments from the leadership of the activist group are designed simply to scare people with misinformation in an effort to further its own agenda.
“This is not helpful, but it is something we have become used to”.
The ethylene plant was taken out of commission in August, initially for a few weeks for repairs, but it has yet to be re-started.