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More unplanned burns are being performed at the Mossmorran petrochemical plant in Fife after a problem with a major compressor on site.
The environmental guard Know was alerted by the operator of the ExxonMobil site just before 3pm.
Residents, who have repeatedly complained about incidents with flames, said the flames were visible from Edinburgh and as far away as Dundee.
Production at the plant only resumed on February 21 after a temporary shutdown.
The site was closed for five months since last August after suffering two boiler explosions.
ExxonMobil said it was “making progress with the necessary steps to restart the machine”, but could not say when that would happen.
A company statement said: “To keep the rest of the plant running and reduce the total duration of burning, we manage this process safely by using our elevated torch.
“We are taking steps to reduce the size of the flare during this work, including maximizing the use of flares on the ground.”
“We apologize for any inconvenience to our local communities.”
Local activists said that ExxonMobil’s response to the latest incident “explained nothing.”
Linda Holt of the Mossmorran Action Group said: “Once again, ExxonMobil is forced to resort to emergency burning because something went wrong.
“As the ground trembles and a huge bright flame amid clouds of black smoke looms over the communities, they are expected to suffer in ignorance.
“The guarantees that the plant is ‘safe’ are not washed.”
Know said initial reports suggest that high burning may continue overnight.
Chris Dailly, chief of environmental performance at Sepa, said: “Having been clear that burning should be the exception rather than routine, we are disappointed that (this) happened again as soon after the restart.
“We expect the company to provide timely updates to the community.”
ExxonMobil shares the Mossmorran site with the Shell Fife natural gas liquid plant.
In February, about 200 workers on the site organized an unofficial strike over security concerns.