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ANNABELLE Ewing said “progress” has been made in tackling unplanned flaring at Mossmorran.
The MSP for Cowdenbeath said she had sought an update from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) on “various issues” relating to the petrochemical complex.
ExxonMobil, who operate the Fife Ethylene Plant, could face prosecution while the company and Shell UK, who run the Fife NGL Plant next door, were both given final warnings by the watchdog in 2018 after numerous incidents of unplanned flaring
Ms Ewing said: “I had a very useful discussion with SEPA officials on a range of issues relating to Mossmorran.
“I was pleased to note that work is going on apace to progress the various initiatives that were proposed to address the incidences of unplanned flaring which have become a source of nuisance and worry to my constituents.
“There has been progress towards assessing what a reasonable timescale would be for the installation by the operators at Mossmorran of new ground flares and SEPA have been working with Fife Council to look at improved means of monitoring so as to provide assurance to the local community.
“I am pleased to say that they very much want to engage with the community on what that could look like.”
She added: “In light of recent claims and rumours that have been circulating locally, I sought reassurance that SEPA has absolutely no intention of replacing site visits with drones and I was pleased to receive confirmation of that.
“Indeed, the use of drones will be complementary to site visits, so extending the level of inspection, and it was interesting to note from a technological perspective what drone monitoring could potentially provide in terms of enhanced information.”
Last month SEPA started legal proceedings against ExxonMobil over “unacceptable flaring” at their plant in April 2019.
A report was submitted to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal for the possible prosecution of the company.
More than 900 complaints were received by SEPA after the incident, which saw unplanned flaring over a seven day period at the site and thick black smoke, which was visible for miles, spewing from the flue stack.
Residents complained of a “roaring” noise, light and air pollution, which the company said was caused by “an interruption to the operation on one of our steam generating boilers”.
Last month ExxonMobil told the Times a number of initiatives and investments have been announced to help address community concerns about their use of flaring.
They said a 14-step action plan, including new technology and processes, would reduce the frequency of incidents and the noise, light and vibration that can be experienced when flaring occurs.
The company said they have “co-operated openly and constructively” with SEPA throughout its investigation into the flaring event in April 2019.