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CAMPAIGNERS have expressed their disappointment after the Scottish Government failed to support proposals for a Just Transition Board for Mossmorran.
Scottish Green MSP Mark Ruskell tabled a motion calling for a new body to be created in the event of the plant’s decarbonisation.
That came after the Scottish Government announced a Grangemouth Future Industry Board to support a ‘just transition’ at that plant in the recent Programme for Government.
However, Environment Minister Mairi Gougeon said it would not be appropriate to support a board for Mossmorran at this time as the Crown Office continues to consider a Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) report into flaring at the complex.
After speaking in a debate at Holyrood last Tuesday on the matter, Mr Ruskell said: “It’s clear that warm words from the Scottish Government are not enough for local residents and climate campaigners.
“They are of no use either for the workers, who deserve a far more secure future than is offered by this fading fossil fuel relic.
“The Scottish Government claim that it is waiting for investigations to conclude on Mossmorran is a complete red herring. We would be waiting a very long time.
“A pending prosecution over flaring doesn’t excuse the government from their responsibilities to workers, communities, or the emissions reduction targets that have been set.
“If they are truly committed to a greener fairer Scotland they would start a just transition for the community and workers of Mossmorran now.”
In May, SEPA announced they were submitting a report to the Crown Office over unplanned flaring at the ExxonMobil site in April 2019.
The flare burned for six days, with thick black smoke belching from the site, and led to more than 900 complaints.
James Glen, chair of Mossmorran Action Group, said there was cross-party support for Mr Ruskell’s motion and added: “Everyone knows Mossmorran is past its sell-by date and we have to start thinking positively about the future of the plant and its workforce as we move towards zero carbon.
“It beggars belief that the Scottish Government is refusing to do this on the grounds that there is a court action pending by SEPA.
“Every time the community has demanded action from the Scottish Government, even just a meeting with a minister, the government hides behind ongoing investigations by SEPA.
“This is a grotesque abrogation of responsibility which makes the Scottish Government look as if it is in the pocket of ‘Big Oil’.”
Cowdenbeath MSP Annabelle Ewing also spoke in the Holyrood debate and told the Times: “The significant disruption to my constituents’ peaceful enjoyment of their lives over the years has led to an increasing desire on the part of many, although by no means all, of them to see an end to the plant in sight.
“While many – again, by no means all – of my constituents accept that it would not be possible to turn off the tap tomorrow, they want to know what the longer-term plans for the site are.
“On September 1, I wrote to the Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, Paul Wheelhouse MSP, to call for a transition arrangement for Mossmorran that is similar to what is proposed for the Grangemouth complex.
“That would reflect the need to do what is necessary to secure Scotland’s target of net zero carbon emissions by 2045, while at the same time leaving no workers or communities behind.
“If a future transition board can be established for Grangemouth to support a just transition for workers and for the local communities that would be affected, why not for Mossmorran?”