Bosses at the Mossmorran chemical plant in Fife have promised to crack down on unplanned flaring.
The Exxon Mobil plant has been the subject of criticism by local residents, politicians and public bodies such as environment agency SEPA for repeated flaring, most recently in October.
Prosecutors are still considering a report made by SEPA regarding flaring at Easter 2019.
Exxon said it was taking action to reduce disruption, including a £140m investment in measures to prevent unplanned flaring.
Martin Burrell, manager of the plant, said a new ‘enclosed ground flare’ would contain up to 98% of the flaring activity.
Mr Burrell told a Fife Council meeting: “The elevated flare is needed at, I would say, certain periods where the flaring is immediate as a source of being able to get into the flare very quickly.
“The new flare we’re going to put in is for any incident where that flaring needs to continue for a period while we restart a piece of equipment or whatever.
“We don’t want to use it very much at all. What we’re putting it in for is to make it clear that where we do have periods of extended flaring that we can do that flaring with a minimum impact on the community.”
Exxon Mobil also committed to meeting members of the public to discuss their concerns and said it had long-term plans for the plant
However, James Glen, chair of the Mossmorran Action Group, said the long-term commitment was a “bombshell” for the community.
He said: “Exxon has absolutely no plans to wind down production or transition to less environmentally damaging operations.
“This will come as a bitter blow to communities who have hoped that an end was in sight to the risk and harms to their health and wellbeing which Mossmorran has been inflicting on them since 1985.”
Story by local democracy reporter Jon Brady
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