A further protest has been held by frustrated locals over disruption caused by Mossmorran chemical plant.
Demonstrators from Mossmorran Action Group peacefully gathered at the Fife site on Saturday afternoon, with support from local councillors and MSPs including Scottish Labour’s Alex Rowley.
This is the second protest this month.
Posting a picture on Twitter, Rowley stated: “The communities around the Mossmorran chemical plant want to know if it is safe, it keeps breaking causing flaring and fear.
“The Scottish Government must seek and give the answers on safety. If it is not safe then it must shut. We need answers.”
Earlier this month, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) received hundreds of complaints over unplanned flaring at the plant which lasted from the early hours of Sunday, October 4 until the afternoon of Tuesday, October 6.
The flaring, a safety measure at the site, causes light and sound disturbance.
Operator ExxonMobil indicated a compressor fault was to blame.
In May this year, Sepa confirmed it was seeking a prosecution following unplanned flaring at the chemical works in April 2019. The flare burned for six days and led to more than 900 complaints.
The Scottish Greens are calling for an urgent independent inquiry into the future of the plant.
Ahead of the protest, Green MSP Mark Ruskell posted a video message in solidarity to all those calling for the plant’s closure.
He said: “You have my support. I would be joining you were it not for the fact that where I live here is impacted by Covid restrictions.
“But the work that you are doing is really important right now. It’s so important that the community voice is heard in this debate.
“The politicians and regulators understand the suffering that local people have had to endure over many, many years.
“And I think there’s a chance here because the Scottish Government is starting to open up to the possibility of a life after Mossmorran and the need for a just transition for workers to move into the industries of the future.”
Following the protest, a spokesperson from ExxonMobil said: “We respect the right to peaceful protest and we ensured a safe space for those attending, but our priority is the safety of our employees and communities, and we have taken actions to ensure continued safe operations.
“We want to be a good neighbour to our host communities, and that is something more than 200 employees, and many more valued contractors, work hard to achieve every day.
“We understand the frustration that is caused by the use of our flare, and our commitment to reducing frequency is underlined by an additional £140m investment in key infrastructure and new technologies due to begin in April.
“While already one of the most modern plants of its kind in Europe, we always look for ways to improve reliability through continued maintenance and investment.
“The Mossmorran facility is an integral part of Scotland’s energy supply, meeting the needs of homes and businesses nationwide. Furthermore, Fife Ethylene Plant directly supports the manufacturing supply chain for important products such as medical supplies, lightweight electric vehicles and food packaging.”