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FIRST Minister Nicola Sturgeon has told the Scottish Parliament that ExxonMobil, ‘must take all the necessary steps to reduce the impact of the Fife Ethylene Plant on residents.’
Ms Sturgeon was replying to a question on the Tuesday afternoon and night flaring at the Mossmorran plant after a compressor tripped.
Speaking after the exchange, Ms Ewing said: “I conveyed to the First Minister the frustration of my constituents at the frequent continued elevated flaring at Mossmorran and made it plain to her that if Exxon cannot, quickly, take the steps required of them, then it is my opinion that their licence to continue to operate should be brought into question.
“The First Minister made it very clear that she shares the concerns and frustrations to which I referred, and I certainly appreciated the forceful insistence with which she commented on the need for Exxon to take the steps required of them to reduce the impact on the local community.”
The MSP asked: “Given the further unplanned elevated flaring by Exxon at Mossmorran this week, just a few short weeks after the last major incident, the First Minister will understand how weary my constituents are of the whole thing.
“Does the First Minister agree that we have moved beyond the final warning issued by SEPA last year? And that all necessary steps must be taken as a matter of urgency by the regulator and by the operator, failing which the licence to continue to operate must surely be brought into question”.
Nicola Sturgeon responded: “Can I firstly say to Annabelle Ewing that I absolutely understand – as she described it – the weariness of her constituents and I understand, and indeed share, the concern of local people. To put it mildly, it is extremely disappointing that there was a further flaring incident on Tuesday so soon after the restart of the plant and I know that this will have added greatly to the frustration felt by the local community.
“SEPA shares that disappointment and are urgently seeking detailed information on this latest incident. The Environment Secretary spoke to SEPA and the Health and Safety Executive after the previous episode to understand the action that they are taking and I understand SEPA’s focus is to follow through on the requirements it has placed on the operator to reduce the frequency, and impact, of flaring.
“This involves major works at the plant and it will take time to see the full benefit, but I am absolutely clear that – and I agree with Annabelle Ewing on this – that the operator must take all necessary steps to reduce the impact on residents and fully address their concerns.”