James Glen of Mossmorran Action Group said:
“SEPA’s findings are welcome but will not come as news to local communities who are well aware that the plant is not up to scratch.
For years now ExxonMobil has been offering false reassurances and meaningless apologies while insisting the impacts residents have been forced to endure were negligible and unavoidable.
Why has it taken SEPA so long to realise the situation is unacceptable?
Led down the garden path by ExxonMobil, regulators and the Scottish Government have put the profits of Big Oil before the health and well-being of the people they are supposed to serve.
Roseanne Cunningham the Environment Secretary can no longer hide behind SEPA. The agency is too weak to regulate Mossmorran effectively as shown by its never-ending and severely limited “investigations”.
By continuing to refuse invitations to a public forum in Lochgelly to hear directly from affected residents, the Environment Secretary and ExxonMobil betray their contempt for local communities.
Fife Council plus MSPs of all parties have supported our call for a full-scale independent expert study into the social, environmental and health impacts of Mossmorran. How can the Scottish Government flash its climate emergency credentials while ignoring the environmental scandal on its doorstep?”
Notes to Editor
NEWS RELEASE from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency – 16 August 2019
Mossmorran unplanned flaring
- ExxonMobil Chemical Limited and Shell U.K. Limited are not currently using all Best Available Techniques for flaring.
- ExxonMobil Chemical Limited proposed timescales to increase capacity and accessibility to ground flares unacceptable.
- Shell U.K. Limited has not sufficiently demonstrated that proposed principles, approach and level of upgrade to the plant would achieve BAT and are therefore unacceptable.
- SEPA will move within seven days to vary operating permits to include required timescales for the implementation of BAT, and the provision of further detail required.
- SEPA’s complex regulatory investigation to an evidential standard involving specialist technical, regulatory and enforcement officers will conclude by end November 2019, subject to no new lines of enquiry being uncovered during this phase.
- SEPA confirmed yesterday that it will fully investigate the current incident.
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency today (16 August 2019) announced the outcome of its review into ‘Best Available Techniques’ (BAT) assessments by ExxonMobil Chemical Limited and Shell U.K. Limited.
In April 2018, SEPA served ExxonMobil Chemical Limited and Shell U.K Limited with Final Warning Letters regarding flaring which was found to be “preventable and unacceptable”. Following SEPA and Health and Safety investigations in 2018/19 and a tightening of permit conditions, SEPA instructed ExxonMobil Chemical Limited and Shell U.K Limited to conduct Best Available Techniques assessments on 13 June 2018. These assessments were received from both operators on 30 April 2019 and have been subject to a rigorous review by technical specialists.
SEPA’s review of the assessments has found that ExxonMobil Chemical Limited and Shell U.K. Limited are not currently using all Best Available Techniques for flaring. The agency acknowledged ExxonMobil’s recognition of the requirement to upgrade their plant but found that their proposed timescales to increase capacity and accessibility to ground flares were unacceptable. SEPA found that Shell U.K. Limited had not sufficiently demonstrated that the proposed principles, approach and level of upgrade to the plant would achieve Best Available Techniques and were also unacceptable.
SEPA will now move within seven days to vary operating permits to include required timescales for the implementation of Best Available Techniques, and timescales for the provision of further details required.
The moves follow the latest incident of unplanned flaring at the Mossmorran site which SEPA confirmed yesterday that it will fully investigate. A first priority is the ongoing investigation into the unplanned flaring that took place in April 2019. The latter is a complex regulatory investigation to an evidential standard involving specialist technical, regulatory and enforcement officers and will conclude by end November 2019, subject to no new lines of enquiry being uncovered during this phase.
SEPA’s response documents, the proposals from ExxonMobil Chemical Limited and Shell U.K. Limited and SEPA’s latest air quality monitoring summary report from the latest incident have been published atwww.sepa.org.uk/mossmorran
Chris Dailly, Head of Environmental Performance at SEPA said:
“SEPA has repeatedly said that compliance with Scotland’s environmental rules is simply non-negotiable. Communities across Fife have had to endure repeated “preventable and unacceptable” flaring.
“We’ve heard clearly the frustration of local people and are today reaching another key milestone in our regulatory response which will drive necessary action to upgrade the site and limit its impact on local communities.
“We’ve published in full the proposals from both companies, our responses and our latest air quality monitoring summary report. We’ll publish more information next week and are committed to keeping people informed.”
SEPA will continue to provide regular updates across its Mossmorran hub. Reports of pollution can be made via SEPA’s online reporting tool, available 24/7.