Mossmorran flaring report due to be published

Mossmorran (Pic: David Scott)
Mossmorran (Pic: David Scott)

An official report into controversial flaring at Mossmorran will be published in April.

Confirmation came at the most recent meeting of the working group set up to bring the ethylene plant operators and the community together to discuss any issues.

Mosmorran faced a huge amount of criticism over several unscheduled flarings, sparking investigations by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

There is an acknowledgement that progress has been made in terms of working with communities, and opening up the lines of communication with the plant.

But Jacob McAllister, who recently replaced Sonia Bingham as plant manager of Exxon Mobil, said more still had to be done.

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Acknowledging the company had “to do a better job of keeping the community informed” he said it had hired a new community liaison manager.

Mr McAllister said safety remained at the core of the operation, and pledged the company had “no bigger priority” than the protection of staff, communities and the environment and its ultimate goal was to “eliminate flaring”.

“It’s better for business, it’s better for the environment and its better for communities,” he said. “We don’t want it to happen. We strive every day as a company for perfection. We have to strive for that.”

The meeting was told that Scottish Environment Protection Agency had carried out a number of investigations into the flaring and raised a number of actions “all of which have been complied with.”

Three particular factors were identified – a pressure spike and interconnectivity between pipes, the relationship between pipes and flaring mechanisms and third party verification of work on site.

And, in conjunction with the National Physical Laboratory, SEPA began an air quality monitoring exercise in January.

The exercise, expected to run until April, was described by Professor Wilson Sibbet, chairman of the Mossmorran and Braefoot Bay independent air quality review group, as a “substantial piece of work”.

The results are expected to be published later this year.

It was agreed Mossmorran and Braefoot Bay community and safety committee group needed to be more transparent and include wider community membership.

It was also recognised communication from groups had still to reach a wider audience

Labour MP Lesley Laird said: “It was pleasing that so many of the attendees acknowledged and recognised that progress had been made.

“I am particularly delighted that there is genuine and open dialogue now happening with the community and that this provides the foundation for constructive working relationships going forward.

“There are some areas still to complete but everyone is committed to doing so.”

The working group is expected to meet again in June.