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A small protest has been held outside of the ExxonMobil Chemical Fife Ethylene Plant with around 50 people showing up at Mossmorran.
It comes following a series of flare-ups at the plant with the Mossmorran Action Group reacting to a series of flare-ups caused by a compressor fault at the plant.
The issue saw flaring from the plant visible in Edinburgh with over 700 complaints made earlier this month over the incident which occurs when unprocessed gas is burned off as a safety measure.
READ MORE: Mossmorran: Warning ExxonMobil could lose licence amid public inquiry calls
The communities around the Mossmorran chemical plant want to know if it is safe, it keeps breaking causing flaring and fear. The @scotgov must seek and give the answers on safety. If it is not safe then it must shut. We need answers pic.twitter.com/SFGkgp5rMo
— Alex Rowley (@Alex_RowleyMSP) October 24, 2020
Alex Rowley, MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife tweeted: “The communities around the Mossmorran chemical plant want to know if it is safe, it keeps breaking causing flaring and fear. The Scottish Government must seek and give the answers on safety. If it is not safe then it must shut. We need answers.”
James Glen, chair of Mossmorran Action Group, told The Scotsman: “This demonstration was spontaneously mobilised by residents after last week’s protest and despite the poor weather and Covid restrictions the number of protestors increased. They believe direct action is the only way the Scottish government will listen to their demands.
He added: “The Scottish Government insists the plant is safe but the action of regulators, over 740 complaints to SEPA over the latest flaring and the 440 reports on the Mossmorran Action Group’s Social Impacts Map suggest otherwise.
“The Scottish Government has refused to meet members of the affected communities. It has refused to commission an independent study into the environmental, social and health impacts of the plant and it won’t even talk about finding a Just Transition for its future.”
READ MORE: Mossmorran: SEPA receives over 700 complaints about unscheduled flaring
A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said: “The concerns of the local community in relation to flaring incidents are well understood by government and regulators and the clear focus must be on the actions the operators take to deliver the additional requirements imposed by SEPA in August 2019.
“SEPA, as independent regulator, concluded its investigation into unplanned flaring at the Mossmorran complex in April last year and submitted a report to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service. We are clear that due process must be followed and it would be inappropriate for Ministers to comment while the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service considers SEPA’s report.
“Given the current action underway, it is not clear what an independent inquiry would add at this time, but this will be kept under review.”
An ExxonMobil spokesperson said: “ExxonMobil respects the right to peaceful protest and ensured a safe space for those attending, but our priority is the safety of our employees and communities, and we took actions to ensure continued safe operations.
“We want to be a good neighbour to our host communities, and that is something more than 200 employees, and many more valued contractors, 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 gas supply where teams work every day to safely meet the energy needs of homes, hospitals, schools and businesses nationwide. Furthermore, Fife Ethylene Plant directly supports the manufacturing supply chain for important products such as medical supplies, lightweight electric vehicles and food packaging.’’