THE operators of the Fife Ethylene Plant at Mossmorran could still be prosecuted over recent flaring incidents that have caused misery for communities in Central Fife, according to an MSP.
The information was revealed in the final warning letters issued by regulator SEPA to Shell and ExxonMobil back in April, which have now been made public.
Green MSP Mark Ruskell has said the ongoing investigations into the plant need to be concluded urgently and expects legal action to follow.
The letters, he said, state that maintenance failures at the plant in June 2017 led to a breach of their operating conditions, and that a further breach of the rules is likely to result in enforcement action. It goes on to state that enforcement could include referring the operators to the Procurator Fiscal for prosecution.
Mr Ruskell said: “I’ve been asking for some time now for these final warning letters to be published, and the information is very revealing.
“It clearly states we could soon be seeing legal action taken against the plant operators, and this could include holding them to account over last summer’s flaring, as well as the multiple incidents that have happened since then including two weeks ago.”.
He concluded: “The Mossmorran Action Group have been compiling examples of the social impacts of flaring in communities around the plant, and the results are consistently unacceptable.
“I’ve recently had a productive meeting with the Public Health Minister too to urge the Scottish Government to investigate flaring as a public health issue. But all this action is meaningless if we don’t also see basic legal enforcement of our environmental and industrial laws.
“I’ll be meeting with the plant operators and Sepa on Friday, and I’ll be making it clear that the investigations over the more recent incidents need to be concluded urgently. Nothing less than legal action is acceptable now.”
Exxon/Mobil, operators of the plant, put out regular information during the recent flaring after a pump failure, updating the public about what was happening regarding repairs. They stress that flaring is a last resort but a vital part of the safety process.