SEPA told to ‘raise its game’ monitoring flaring at Mossmorran

Unplanned flaring at Mossmorran  (Pic: FFP)
Unplanned flaring at Mossmorran (Pic: FFP)

Scotland’s environment watchdog has been told to do better when it comes to regulating Mossmorran.

The call comes from Lesley Laird MP.

She has written to Terry A’Hearn, chief executive of SEPA – Scottish Environment Protection Agency – and told him to up his game in relation to Fife Ethylene Plant which is currently flaring again, this time for five days.

The plant has been at the centre of a huge debate following hundreds of complaints over unscheduled flaring at Easter, and SEPA has already issued it with final written warnings with other investigations still to be concluded.

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Ms Laird said SEPA needed to act faster and it faced “a real test” in how it handled the on-going issues surrounding the petrochemical plant run by ExxonMobil.

The Kirkcaldy MP said: “There are issues with the operators in relation to trust and confidence and now there is a real test for SEPA as the regulatory authority to be seen to be truly safeguarding the communities that they say they are here to protect.

“The issue of the final written from April 2018 was seen as a breakthrough in terms of the regulator showing some teeth, but there have been various unplanned events since then. Investigations just seem to be endlessly going on and there comes a point where frankly you have to ask why does it take so long?”

“Communities need answers and actions now, and that is why I am calling on SEPA to bring forward some conclusion to these ongoing investigations.”

In her letter, Ms Laird asks SEPA’s boss why, if the current flaring was scheduled, did the community not get advance warning.

She wrote: “Since SEPA’s final warning letter in April 2018 there have been a number of flaring episodes.

“As you know from your own experience the biggest issue remains one of trust and confidence. 

“Given the other episodes of flaring, when does SEPA intend to take further action? 

“While investigations are constantly ongoing, there never seems an end point where any definitive action is actually taken. 

“This is a cause of concern for the local communities who increasingly feel that SEPA is not addressing or acting on their concerns.”