Mossmorran flaring: Call for plant to “accept its failings”

Unplanned flaring at Mossmorran in  April (Pic: Fife Free Press)
Unplanned flaring at Mossmorran in April (Pic: Fife Free Press)

Bosses at Fife Ethelyne Plant have been urged to “accept their continued failings” – and meet with communities affected by flaring at Mossmorran.

The call came from Councillor Darren Watt who said he was “beyond angry” with the situation at the plant following today’s “elevated flaring”in response to “a mechanical failure.”

He said: “Yet again the surrounding communities are worried and anxious, leaving them with more questions than answers.

“I strongly urge the site management to accept their continued failings and meet with residents in a public forum at the earliest opportunity – it’s the very least they can do at this stage.”

Plant operators declined an invitation to a public form in May, claiming that the event would be unfair and non-constructive.

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The latest flaring came in for criticism from Ms Annabelle Ewing MSP for Cowdenbeath.

She has raised the matter with SEPA, the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency asking it to carry out on-site testing of the emissions from the flare.

She also expressed her “very serious concerns” to the agency.

She added: “I want SEPA to confirm that it is – or very soon will be – carrying on-site testing of the flare emissions, something that it failed to do at the previous incident at Easter when we saw a delay in such testing.

“Further to that, I want to know what SEPA is doing to ensure that the operator brings this incident to an end as soon as possible and that it will launch a further formal regulatory investigation into this incident.

“Coincidentally, I learned of this flaring as I came from the regular quarterly meeting between NHS Fife and elected representatives where I had specifically asked for Mossmorran to be on the agenda, and we had a discussion on NHS Fife’s response to the unplanned flaring incident at Easter.

“My office has been in contact with both ExxonMobil and SEPA and I understand that SEPA officers are en route, that there will be an assessment group meeting with Fife Council and NHS Fife and that there will be further updates via social media.”

Mossmorran’s senior management is expected to issue an update later today.

In an earlier statement, Jacob McAlister, plant manager at Fife Ethylene Plant, said: “As a result of a mechanical issue, we are operating our elevated flare at FEP.

“Our teams have quickly identified the cause and we are confident that we will return to normal operations later today.

“We apologise for any inconvenience this is causing and would like to assure everyone that there is no danger to our communities or staff on site.”