New network to let communities monitor air quality at Mossmorran in near real time

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A new monitoring network will allow communities in the shadow of the giant Mossmorran complex to see the air quality in their area in close to real time.

Scotland’s environment agency, SEPA, has new air quality analysers in a number of neighbouring towns, including Kirkcaldy, Aberdour, Auchtertool, Burntisland, Cardenden, Cowdenbeath, and Lochgelly. 

They come after community participation in the design of a new monitoring network, and a refreshed online regulatory hub designed to make it easier than ever to find information about SEPA’s regulation of the Fife Natural Liquids Plant and Fife Ethylene Plant.

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The network has a wider geographic spread, and will provide information on a greater range of pollutants than it was previously able to, broadening the scope of monitoring to provide more reassurance.

ExxonMobil Chemical plant at Mossmorran, Fife.ExxonMobil Chemical plant at Mossmorran, Fife.
ExxonMobil Chemical plant at Mossmorran, Fife.

Analysers are positioned in communities, so they monitor the air quality where people live and work - and the new equipment has enabled the regulator to explore better ways of presenting data.

SEPA has been monitoring air quality in Auchtertool, Lochgelly and Donibristle, near Cowdenbeath, since August 2019. 

Whilst it has shown no breaches of the air quality standards in that time, attendees across a series of community engagement sessions in 2021 were clear that there was a strong desire for permanent monitoring plus easy to understand and timely data.

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The agency’s new approach consists of a monitoring station and a network of analysers deployed in local communities around the Mossmorran complex. Instead of waiting for monthly reports from SEPA, residents can now access the data online in almost real time, choosing which sites and pollutants they want to look at.

The monitoring station has been placed in Auchtertool as it is the most suitable location in a downwind direction from the Mossmorran complex.

The network of analysers consists of eight lamp post mounted multi-pollutant devices which will provide indicative data for the wider communities. They continue to show that there have been no breaches of the air quality standards since monitoring began.

Chris Dailly, SEPA’s head of environmental performance, said: “We’re pleased that in line with our regulatory requirements, a series of key investments and improvements have been made at the Mossmorran complex over the last few years, to make flaring an exception rather than routine, and minimise the impact on communities when flaring is required.

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“The investment we’ve required the operators to make, from noise reducing flare tips in 2020 and 2021 to planning and designing new ground flare capacity, will continue over the next few years as that new capacity comes into operation.

“A key area of our focus has been the future monitoring of Mossmorran, where we know there is significant community interest.  Rather than design this in isolation, we heard directly from local residents, to allow them to have their say on a future monitoring network and share how we could best publish, present and help explain what we find. The launch of the SEPA Mossmorran Air Quality Network brings this phase of work to completion.”

The SEPA Mossmorran Air Quality Network can be accessed online at

It is also accessible from SEPA’s regulatory hub at

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