MSP attacks Mossmorran’s ‘staggering level of arrogance’ over latest flaring

ExxonMobil Chemical plant at Mossmorran (Pic: Jane Barlow)
ExxonMobil Chemical plant at Mossmorran (Pic: Jane Barlow)

The operators of Mossmorran have been branded ‘“arrogant’’ in their approach to the local communities as the backlash over another unscheduled flaring continues.

Mark Ruskell MSP also called on environmental agency SEPA to take “significant’’ enforcement action.

The criticism comes as communities around Fife Ethelyne Plant face several days of flaring after a broken pump saw seven emergency crews called out.

READ MORE Mossmorran may flare for days

Saturday’s incident has yet to be resolved, and the owners, ExxonMobil say they cannot give a timescale when flaring will stop.

Sonia Bingham, plant manager, said: “It is not possible to predict precisely at this stage when in the next few days we will return to normal operations, but we are doing everything we can to do this as soon as possible, while at the same time minimising the size of the flare and any resulting disturbance to the community.”

The plant is permitted to flare for safety purposes, but is the unscheduled incidents which have caused a huge outcry.

Mossmorran was handed a final warning by SEPA in relation to an incident last summer, but two subsequent issues are still being investigated, with the possibility of a third into the current problem.

Mr Ruskell said: “The latest prolonged, unscheduled flaring incident demonstrate a staggering level of arrogance from the multi-billion dollar businesses that run the Mossmorran plant.

“They appear to think they can disregard the ‘final warning’ notices issued by SEPA just one month ago.’’

He also called on SEPA to issue tougher sanctions.

“SEPA identified maintenance failures when they issued these final warnings in April. With another two incidents still under investigation, in addition to this latest, it is vital that significant enforcement action is taken by the regulator.

“My constituents living in the shadow of the plant are understandably angry that their lives are being made a misery, with ever increasing regularity.

“If SEPA expect to be taken seriously they must ensure that ‘final warning’ means just that. My constituents will expect nothing less.”