A meeting to review monitoring of a Fife chemical plant and its communication with the public will be boycotted by a community group.

Mossmorran Action Group has claimed the talks arranged by Labour MP Lesley Laird are politically motivated and designed to shore up the status quo.

Only one place at the table with operators Shell and ExxonMobil had been reserved for the group, which has called for a “proper investigation” of Mossmorran’s impact on the environment and people living nearby.

The list of attendees includes representatives of SEPA, Fife Council and the Mossmorran independent monitoring committee, but no other politicians.

This is despite a pledge in December to convene a cross-party sit down following concerns about flaring from the site.

Friday’s meeting in Mrs Laird’s Kirkcaldy office was called to determine whether improvements could be made to the work of the committee and to the way operators of the Cowdenbeath plant communicate with their neighbours.

James Glen, of MAG, said: “Once again what is supposed to be an open discussion with the community has turned into a cosy get-together behind closed doors between operators and regulators.

“Since 1985 when Mossmorran opened, the authorities, including local politicians, have colluded with the operators to play down how pollution, noise, vibration and light emissions from the plant are harming the health and well-being of neighbouring communities.”

© DC Thomson
James Glen says MAG will boycott the meeting

Green MSP Mr Ruskell said he was disappointed that a meeting had been convened “excluding” MSPs.

Annabelle Ewing and David Torrance, for the SNP, and Conservative Alexander Stewart did not make the list either.

He said: “Community confidence in the management of Mossmorran is at rock bottom.

“Any attempt to restore community relations has to be built on total transparency and accountability.”

Mrs Laird said that the attendance details had only been finalised on Monday, adding: “We tried to contact Mr Glen to appraise him of this situation but he has not responded.

“Given such short notice, and the fact that a representative from NHS Fife has only today (Wednesday) confirmed they will not attend, we have decided to proceed with the meeting, albeit one with a much narrower remit focusing only on monitoring and communication practices around flaring.

“It is our intention to organise further meetings, which will include full cross party representation, as undoubtedly the issues which have been raised in connection to Mossmorran will require short, medium and long term support, not least of which may be to bring through legislative changes which may be required in future.

“We are disappointed to hear that Mossmorran Action Group don’t wish to take advantage of this opportunity and hope that they may yet reconsider their position, ensuring that the community voice is represented.”

Concerns about the impact of Mossmorran were reignited by prolonged, unplanned flaring last summer.

The practice is part of the plant’s safety mechanism. Operators regularly stress that testing by Fife Council’s independent air quality monitoring review group has consistently concluded it poses no significant risk to health.

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