Politicians welcome SEPA ‘tough line’ on Mossmorran flaring

Fife Free Press coverage of flaring at Mossmorran, 2017
Fife Free Press coverage of flaring at Mossmorran, 2017

A final written warning over unscheduled flaring at Mossmorran has been welcomed by politicians.

The rap from the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) related to an incident last June – and it still has two further investigations to complete over subsequent issues.

Lesley Laird MP fort Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, said it was overdue as communities have suffered for too long.

She is hosting a meeting on Friday of local groups and politicians to discuss SEPA’s actions in more detail.

The MP viewed the final warnings as ‘‘only the start’’ of the process to get a clear grip of the problems which have led to unscheduled flaring at the plant on several occasions over the past 18 months.

She said: “Communities, who for too long suffered from light and noise pollution associated with flaring at Mossmorran, will be relieved SEPA is finally taking appropriate measures and steps.

However, this is only the start of a process to get to grips with these issues and, clearly, it’s what happens now to stop flaring episodes in future that will determine whether public confidence can improve.

“I have been working on this issue now since being elected and will be hosting a meeting tomorrow and look forward to hearing first-hand the details of SEPA’s report.

“Clearly, there’s a lot of work to be done now and I hope this meeting will provide a first step to determining what can be achieved – and when.”

The impact of unscheduled flaring on local communities was also highlighted by Alexander Stewart, one of the list MSPs for Mid-Scotland and Fife,

He said he received a huge number of calls when it happened last June, and added: ‘‘I am extremely disappointed that ExxonMobil Chemical and Shell UK have both caused this environmental impact on local communities and I welcome SEPA’s formal final warning letters together with its announcement of a full review of environmental ‘Permits to Operate’ and ensure an enhanced programme of air quality monitoring.

He added: ‘‘I am glad that their apparent cutting of corners has been found out and I very much hope they can start towing the line and focusing on the safety and peace of mind of the local residents.”

Anabelle Ewing, SNP MSP welcomed what she called SEPA’s ‘‘tough line.’’

“Over a seven day period last June, my constituents who live in the area around the Mosmorran complex were subjected to noise, vibration and black smoke,’’ she said. ‘‘This was not just a nuisance but a source of genuine worry and concern about the safety and health implications that this continued flaring might have.

“I am extremely pleased to have received notification from SEPA of its response to these incidents and I welcome the tough line it is taking.

“I note SEPA investigations are ongoing into further flaring incidents in October and March, and I want to see ExxonMobil and Shell start to engage fully on these matters with the local community.’’