MSP calls for tougher regulation on Mossmorran flaring

Mark Ruskell MSP
Mark Ruskell MSP

A Fife MSP has called for tougher regulations on flaring at Mossmorran, claiming local residents have had enough.

Mark Ruskell, Scottish Green Party, said recent incidents underlined the need for transition plans leading to the de-commissioning of Fife Ethylene Plant.

Mr Ruskell, a long-term critic of the complex, has written to Roseanna Cunningham, the Scottish Government’s environment secretary, asking her to meet local residents to hear their concerns.

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The politician also claims ExxonMobil breached sits permit by flaring for longer than 15 minutes – a claim strongly refuted by FEP management.

Mr Ruskell said: “Residents across Fife have had enough. People near this plant have been subjected to massive levels of pollution, and they tell me the flaring this week may have been an illegal breach of permit.

“I hope SEPA will check the CCTV footage to see if black smoke has been evident.”

SEPA has said monitoring continues to demonstrate air quality in line with expectations of controlled flaring events.

But Mr Ruskell said current regulations “clearly aren’t strong enough” adding: “Mossmorran is a clear example of how inadequate environmental protections can have a massive impact on people’s day-to-day lives and public health.

“We need vibration and light pollution to be included within the regulatory regime.

“As well as causing immediate pollution and distress, Mossmorran is a massive greenhouse gas emitter and incompatible with the climate emergency.

“Looking at how the owners have underfunded it, Mossmorran’s closure is inevitable. We owe it to the workers and the community there to plan for a just transition for the plant now.”

In response to Mr Ruskell’s claims, a spokesman for FEP said: ““At no time during this event, did we breach the smoke condition of our regulatory permit.

“We are disappointed that Mr Ruskell would make such inaccurate claims that potentially lead to public anxiety.

“Furthermore, repeated independent monitoring and modelling has shown there is no air quality impact from flaring.

“We acknowledge the potential light and noise concerns, which is why we have committed to implementing a comprehensive, multi-million-pound programme of actions to minimise both the frequency and duration of flaring.

“Our company has provided stable, skilled and high value employment to Fife for over 35 years, with over 270 dedicated team members and their families relying on us for their livelihoods. We are committed to them, and we are committed to Fife.”