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Extinction Rebellion members are set to gather outside the Scottish Parliament tomorrow morning, in protest of ‘unacceptable’ flaring at the Mossmorran Plant in Fife.
Locals will protest at the gate of the site, while other protestors unable to travel because of current Covid-19 restrictions will hold a solidarity rally outside the Scottish Parliament.
Earlier this month, The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) recieved over 700 complaints after the ExxonMobil Chemical Ethylene Plant in Fife started elevated flaring.
SEPA officers collected data and evidence during the flaring, and found there was no breach of air quality standards.
However, they remained “frustrated” by the frequency of the flaring.
Chris Dailly, head of environmental performance at SEPA, said: “Whilst we are pleased that the site has now returned to normal operations and is no longer flaring, we remain frustrated by the frequency of flaring and the flow of information from the operator.”
In a statement from Extinction Rebellion Scotland, activists have claimed “enough is enough.”
They said: “Just two weeks ago, residents near the Mossmorran Plant run by Shell and Exxon suffered under the worst flaring so far.
“Residents have been complaining about flares, smell and air pollution for years, without anyone recognising the injustices done to their community.
“Enough is enough – this Saturday at 11am, locals will protest at the secondary gate at Mossmorran.
“Due to the current COVID-19 restrictions, those of us in Edinburgh are unable to travel to Fife in support of local residents – but we will hold a solidarity rally at the Scottish Parliament to hold politicians to account over their failure to protect communities against Shell and Exxon’s environmental crimes.”
According to Extinction Rebellion Scotland, ExxonMobil “need to be shut down” for being the second worst polluter in Scotland, after INEOS – a leading chemical company.
They added: “Stand in Solidarity with the Mossmorran Action Group, and help us shut down Exxon and Shell.”
Organisers have asked supporters to follow government regulations and only protest at the Mossmorran Facility if they live locally, whereas those based in Edinburgh have been asked to meet at the Scottish Parliament.
Supporters from elsewhere in Scotland are asked to take a picture with a placard, to tweet at the Scottish Government.
Organisers have also reminded supporters to wear a mask and maintain a two-metre distance during the protest, and asked that anyone showing symptoms not attend.
Back in February, “intense flaring” at the chemical plant sparked alarm.
The “flames” that could be seen for miles prompted many to take to social media to express fears.
One Twitter user in Edinburgh described the flare “as bright as streetlights” despite being 12 miles away.
Cowdenbeath councillor Darren Watt tweeted that “the flaring was the most intense I’ve ever seen.”
Meanwhile, ExxonMobil have said they understand the frustration and “want to be a good neighbour.”
An ExxonMobil spokesperson said: “While we respect the right to peaceful protest, our priority is the safety of our employees and communities and we have implemented actions to ensure our operations remain safe and running as normal.
“We want to be a good neighbour to our host communities, and that is something more than 200 employees work hard to achieve every day.
“We understand the frustration that is caused by the use of our flare, and our commitment to reducing frequency is underlined by an additional £140 million investment in key infrastructure and new technologies due to begin in April.
“While already one of the most modern plants of its kind in Europe, we always look for ways to improve reliability through continued maintenance and investment.
“The Mossmorran facility is an integral part of Scotland’s energy supply, meeting the needs of homes and businesses nationwide. Furthermore, Fife Ethylene Plant directly supports the manufacturing supply chain for important products such as medical supplies and food packaging.”