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‘The patience of local communities has once again been tested by elevated flaring at Mossmorran.
I fully appreciate the significance of the impact the noise, light and vibration from the plant has been having on local residents.
Over the last few months I have had a number of meetings and correspondence with ExxonMobil, Shell, SEPA, Fife Council and Community Councillors, and received daily updates from both ExxonMobil and SEPA during the final stage of the start-up earlier this month.
Specialist officers from SEPA are continuing daily regulatory updates with the operator to ensure that all steps are taken to minimise impacts on the surrounding communities. They have assured me that air quality remains within UK Air Quality Standard.
I also expect to see further updates on issues the workforce has raised and how that led to an unofficial walkout by some contractors.
With the re-start now complete, I expect to see a significant improvement in the intensity and frequency of flaring from Mossmorran, and will be closely monitoring the measures that ExxonMobil and Shell have committed to take to reduce future flaring, such as installing noise reducing flare tips and new ground flares.
Nevertheless, I understand that many local residents have very real concerns about the impact of living in close proximity to Mossmorran. My main priority as local MP is to ensure that the voices of the communities affected are heard and that they have an appropriate platform to engage with the other stakeholders. I am hopeful that the new stakeholder group being formed will bring all the relevant voices together for constructive discussion and I look forward to being closely involved moving forward.
At Westminster, I was pleased to be able to speak in a debate on migration, paying tribute to the many people who have come to Scotland to build a life among us.
I have been contacted by many constituents who are deeply distressed by the Government’s unjust and iniquitous approach to immigration.
I would like to assure them I am doing everything I possibly can to challenge this hostile and xenophobic element at the heart of UK government policy.
Scotland has distinct and different migration needs to sustain our population and help meet demographic challenges. Yet the UK Government has simply dismissed the views of the organisations that support the Scottish Government’s Scottish visa proposals, including business and rural communities, the Scottish TUC, FSB Scotland and the Scottish Council for Development and Industry.
The points-based scheme announced by the Government last week, with minimum earnings threshold of £25,600 will be devastating for Scotland.
Bodies representing farming, catering and nursing are warning that it will be hard to recruit staff under the new system, and this is being echoed in the conversations I have had recently with local employers.
Of course, visas serve an important function, but when they set the bar at an unrealistic or unnecessarily high level, they become an impediment to growth and ambition. The UK Government’s insistence on applying a one-size-fits-all approach is as senseless as it is reckless