Communities speak of anger and loss of trust at packed Mossmorran meeting – Auto Republish

Members of the public address a packed public meeting.

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Communities living in the shadow of the giant Mossmorran petrochemical plant say they have no trust in either the operators or regulators.

Angry members of the public said they no longer believed assurances from ExxonMobil or Shell after suffering years of stress and anxiety due to repeated episodes of unplanned flaring at the site near Cowdenbeath.

Their ire was particularly directed at Exxon, which they said was responsible for the majority of the problems.

They also cast doubt over data relating to air monitoring near the plant, supplied by environment watchdog Sepa, which showed no breach of UK air monitoring regulations.

Those attending a packed public meeting in Lochgelly on Friday night have now called for better communication from all parties in a bid to rebuild the trust they have lost.

They also demanded meetings with ExxonMobil and the Scottish Government, expressing anger that neither attended Friday’s event.

Amid calls for conversations regarding the long-term decommissioning of the plant, locals spoke of children wetting the bed in fear, disturbed sleep and ongoing health concerns every time the plant flared.

One man asked: “Does the panel think it’s appropriate such a plant should be situated so close to a community?

“In the long-term, the plant should be shut down.”

Assurances were given by Sepa, Shell, Fife Council and NHS Fife, all of whom were represented at the meeting, that everything possible was being done to reduce episodes of unscheduled flaring, but all pledged to improve communication.

Flaring burns off gas that cannot be processed at the plant, which produces ethylene for the plastics industry, and is an important safety mechanism.

However, it results in significant light pollution and has been causing houses in Cowdenbeath and Lochgelly to vibrate.

Councillors and MSPs at the meeting backed calls for an independent inquiry.

Cowdenbeath SNP MSP Annabel Ewing said: “I have called for it on a number of occasions and this week I called for it again.

“This week in Parliament I also called for Sepa to use its regulatory powers to the max.

“I think it will send an important signal if breaches of the rules are found to have taken place.”

Lochgelly Labour councillor Linda Erskine added: “This plant should be decommissioned. It should be starting now.

“I do not accept we should have to wait for Sepa finishing their investigation because they’ve never been finished for years.”

Teresa Waddington, manager of the Shell NGL plant, she she appreciated the impact flaring had on local people.

“We’re committed to minimising the impact of Shell’s operations on local people and have taken concrete steps to do this while continuing to supply important energy products to communities in Scotland and the UK which depend on them.”


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Resident-led action group seeking redress from the long-term social, health and environmental impacts from the Mossmorran facilities in Central Fife operated by ExxonMobil (Fife Ethylene Plant) and Shell (Fife NGL).


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