Mossmorran: We need an independent inquiry

Fife Free Press, front page May 24, 2018
Fife Free Press, front page May 24, 2018

The time has come for an independent inquiry into the impact of unscheduled flaring at Mossmorran on local communities.

There have been too many incidents, and too many apologies.

Now, there has to be an open, transparent investigation into the noise, air and light pollution and its effects on the lives of folk living in the shadow of this giant petro-chemical plant.

The stories of houses vibrating with noise, of sleep deprivation, and layers of dust have been well documented, but never fully researched.

An independent inquiry is needed to consider the bigger picture – that simply isn’t happening with regulator SEPA which seems to treat each incident in isolation.

While both it and Mossmorran have upped their game in terms of PR, their re-assurances have not fully satisfied the community or campaigners who have long called for more transparency.

After last weekend’s unscheduled flaring – the fourth since last summer – the time has come for the Scottish Government to step in.

The plant is already on a final warning relating to unscheduled flaring in the summer of 12017, but SEPA has two other incidents to investigate with the prospect of a third from this weekend.

Treating each individually is getting us nowhere, and each investigation is taking far too long to reach a conclusion.

The reluctance of SEPA to publish its findings in full also needs to change.

The only way this will change is through an indepdendent inquiry with a clear remit into the pollution concerns and maintenance issues impacting on the plant. It must also have a defined timescale, and a commitment to publish its findings in full.

The community has questions – it needs, and deserves, much more detailed answers.