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“Apocalyptic” flaring at the Mossmorran petrochemical plant in Fife has been brought to an end after three nights of noise, light and vibrations.
Almost 400 angry residents lodged official complaints with environment watchdog Sepa during the latest disturbance caused by the ExxonMobil site, when flames could be seen as far as Edinburgh, Alloa and across Fife.
— Tom Duffin Photographer (weePhotos) (@weePhotosEdin) October 6, 2020
The operator blamed the incident on a faulty part in a compressor, which has now been replaced.
Plant manager Jacob McAlister has apologised for the frustrations endured by neighbouring communities and said staff would work to reduce future occurrences.
Residents in nearby communities described the rumbling coming from the controversial plant as being like an earthquake or a low-flying aeroplane.
Elaine Green, from Cowdenbeath, said she had been on the verge of fleeing her home in fear on Sunday.
ExxonMobil has launched its own investigation into the cause and it will run alongside a Sepa probe.
The watchdog has already ascertained that air quality standards were not breached during the past three days but said there had been a community noise impact.
It said the impact on local communities was being heard clearly.
An investigation into whether there has been a breach of permit conditions is ongoing.
The Forth Bridges tonight with the flare from Mossmorran giving this often captured scene an apocalyptic feel. pic.twitter.com/xqh3Mr39AG
— Simon Douglas (@sjedouglas) October 5, 2020
— Tom Duffin Photographer (weePhotos) (@weePhotosEdin) October 5, 2020
Mr McAlister said Saturday night’s torrential rain had not contributed to the latest bout of flaring at Mossmorran.
“Our teams identified and replaced the part, and then conducted comprehensive checks to ensure a safe and reliable re-start of the machine,” he said.
“We will finalise our own investigation into the root cause but can confirm that, contrary to misinformation, weather was not a contributing factor.
“We absolutely understand and apologise for the frustration that the use of our flare can cause.
“We will, therefore, continue to work to reduce future occurrences.”
ExxonMobil issued an apology back in February after a run of intense flaring at the Mossmorran site.