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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she will consider an independent inquiry into the future of the Mossmorran gas plant in Fife.
The comment came after she was challenged at First Minister’s questions by the Scottish Greens after recent flaring saw hundreds complain to environmental regulator Sepa.
Two nights of flaring saw locals woken up around 3:30am, and an orange sky visible from Edinburgh.
Neale Hanvey, the local MP, spoke of “the appalling noise, light, and vibrations” coming from the chemical plant.
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) is now assessing whether permit conditions have been breached by the ExxonMobil plant.
READ MORE: IN PICTURES: Sky orange as Mossmorran flaring prompts furious locals to complain
Officers from the agency were sent to record community impacts at five locations, but noted there had been no breach of air quality standards.
A spokesperson for ExxonMobil said the flaring had been a result of an “isolated technical issue with one of [their] machines”.
The Scottish Greens have welcomed the First Minister’s agreement to propose an independent inquiry into the plant’s future to Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham, but said it had taken too long to materialise.
It’s clear this fossil fuel relic cannot provide long-term jobs in the future.
Almost 6000 people have now written to Cunningham through the Green party website calling for an urgent inquiry into the ethylene plant.
Scottish Green environment spokesperson Mark Ruskell said: “I’m glad that the voices of thousands who have raised concerns has finally been heard. The First Minister has said she will look into the possibility of an independent inquiry and how to give a secure future for workers at the plant.
“This commitment is an important first step, but it comes after over a year of ministers refusing to meet with residents, ignoring calls for an independent inquiry and only a week after the Scottish Government refused to agree to my call to establish a just transition board for Mossmorran.
“I look forward to progress on this. It’s clear this fossil fuel relic cannot provide long-term jobs in the future. Communities in Lochgelly and Cowdenbeath need a short-term end to the pollution and a long-term plan to invest in alternative and future-proofed jobs for this community.”