Hundreds complain over unplanned flaring at chemical plant

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency said it was 'frustrated' by the frequency of flaring at the Fife chemical plant.

Hundreds complain over unplanned flaring at chemical plant Twitter

More than 740 complaints have been lodged over unplanned flaring at a chemical plant in Fife.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) said it was “frustrated” by the frequency of flaring at Mossmorran following this latest incident, which began at around 3.30am on Sunday.

The flaring eventually came to an end on Tuesday afternoon.

ExxonMobil, the operator of the site, indicated a compressor fault was to blame.

The flaring, a safety measure at the site, causes light and sound disturbance.

Fife: Hundreds of complaints have been made over the flaring.Twitter

One woman contacted STV News and said her house had been “rumbling since 3.30am” on Sunday.

She added: “Enough is enough, this is a joke. Sorry for the ranting, but this has gone on for years.”

Cowdenbeath councillor Darren Watt posted a picture of the flaring online, stating: “A picture paints a thousand words but you have to see, hear and feel the velocity of the flaring to truly believe it.”

Sepa said it was awaiting a full report on the cause of the flaring, but said it was investigating whether there had been a breach of permit conditions.

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.

Complaints: Sepa is continuing to monitor the situation.Facebook

Chris Dailly, head of environmental performance at Sepa, said: “Whilst we are pleased that the site has now returned to normal operations and is no longer flaring, we remain frustrated by the frequency of flaring and the flow of information from the operator. 

“We’ve also clearly heard the impact flaring continues to have on local communities through over 740 reports to us since Sunday.”

Mr Dailly added: “Whilst we await a full, detailed report from the operator on the cause of the latest flaring incident, the operator has indicated a compressor fault. 

“The evidence we are gathering will enable us to determine whether there has been a breach of the site’s permit conditions and what our next steps should be in line with our published enforcement policy. 

“We are clear on our expectations of ExxonMobil Chemical Limited, including requiring the installation of noise reducing flare tips followed by the installation of ground flares. 

“What we need now is for ExxonMobil to step up and recognise the depth of community anger and make real progress in making flaring the exception rather than the routine – and we will employ all available measures to ensure they do so.”