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THE Fife Ethylene Plant re-start has now entered its ‘next and final stage’ SEPA was advised on Monday evening by ExxonMobil Chemical Ltd and the organisation is stressing that monitoring is stringently taking place.
However, the intense flaring over the weekend brought a sharp response from the Mossmorran Action Group.
In an update issued by the company, the business stated that work had begun to re-start distillation towers, a ‘final stage’ of the process. The company advised that the elevated flare would fluctuate in size as each tower comes online and starts processing gas.
Specialist officers from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) are continuing daily regulatory updates with the operator and are clear that all steps must continue to be taken to minimise impacts on communities.
SEPA regulatory, noise and air monitoring continues across local communities and SEPA’s published air quality reports have confirmed that air quality remains within UK Air Quality Standards. The agency has published 28 SEPA Air Quality Reports, including weekly reports, available at sepa.org.uk/mossmorran
SEPA’s approach is also addressing the investment required to end ‘unacceptable flaring.’
SEPA expects investment in noise-reducing flare tips and fully enclosed ground flare technologies at Mossmorran and that these will significantly reduce the impact on the rare occasions when flaring is necessary.
Noise reducing flare tips are to be installed by the operators within the following timescales: ExxonMobil Chemical Limited this year and Shell U.K. Limited in 2021.
ExxonMobil Chemical Limited has committed to optimising timescales to install new ground flares – which will significantly address impacts from flaring as part of a £140 million investment. Shell U.K. Limited has recently submitted a project for their future use of ground flares.
Wendy Thornton, SEPA Senior Manager, Compliance & Beyond, said: “We’ve said clearly that compliance with Scotland’s environmental rules is simply non-negotiable. Specialist teams have been working round-the-clock to monitor the restart and ensure the company is taking all steps to minimise impacts on communities.
“Our published monitoring has confirmed that air quality remains within UK Air Quality Standard and we’ve now published 28 SEPA Air Quality Reports, including weekly reports, at sepa.org.uk/mossmorran
“People will rightly welcome an end being in sight for the restart. That said, we hear clearly calls for an end to the ongoing disturbance this industrial facility is causing.
“That’s why we’re working to address the root-causes of ‘unacceptable flaring’ and making flaring an exception rather than routine. The short and medium-term investment we’re requiring the operators to make, from noise reducing flare tips in 2020 and 2021 and planning, designing then delivering new ground flare capacity will make a real difference to local communities.
“We’ll ensure local people have the latest information, via SEPA’s social media channels, local media and our next community newsletter.
“Communities can continue to report any concerns via our 24 Hour Pollution Hotline.”