Protesters campaign at gates to Mossmorran complex in Fife for second weekend running – Auto Republish

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Protesters have campaigned at the gates to the Mossmorran complex in Fife for the second weekend running.

On Saturday, more than 40 people assembled peacefully at the site, some holding placards calling for it to be shut down.

Mossmorran has been under increased scrutiny following the latest bout of flaring from ExxonMobil’s elevated stack at Fife Ethylene Plant, which was the subject of more than 700 complaints to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa), and potential job losses at Shell’s side of the operation, Fife NGL Plant.

© Aileen Robertson/DCT Media
Protester Ruth Fleming.

Among those who turned up on Saturday were local members of the Extinction Rebellion movement, which recently blocked access to the Ineos oil refinery at Grangemouth.

The Fife protests were coordinated by a local campaign called Actions Speak Louder than Words, which has the backing of Mossmorran Action Group (MAG).

Labour MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife Alex Rowley attended, along with Labour councillors Linda Erskine, Judy Hamilton, Alex Campbell and Mary Lockhart, and also independent councillor Linda Holt. David Ross, the Labour co-leader of Fife Council, had been at the previous weekend’s protest.

Meanwhile, ExxonMobil has been told by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to tighten up procedures for inspecting pipe work at Fife Ethylene Plant.

The plant operator was given until the end of this month to comply with an improvement notice relating to pipes containing hazardous substances.

According to the HSE insulated pipes are susceptible to corrosion and ExxonMobil’s procedures risked faults going undetected, increasing the risk of “major hazard and personal health and safety risks from loss of containment of hazardous fluids”.

© Kenny Smith
Mossmorran flaring earlier this month.

ExxonMobil defended its safety record, which the oil and gas giant said “speaks for itself”.

An ExxonMobil spokesperson said: “ExxonMobil has hundreds of skilled employees and contractors working at Fife Ethylene Plant each day.

“In over 30 years of safe operations, we have never experienced a major incident which has impacted upon the wider community, and it is over a quarter of a century since any member of ExxonMobil staff at the plant experienced a lost time injury.

“Not only do we operate within one of the most highly regulated industries, we operate to the very highest safety and risk management standards, and work closely with the HSE in full compliance with its approved processes.’’

The improvement notice, which was served in March, follows an HSE probe into two boiler failures which caused a complete plant shutdown last year.

Improvement notices served on ExxonMobil last year stated the company had “failed to take all measures necessary to reduce the risk from firebox explosion” in a number of furnaces.

James Glen, who chairs MAG, said: “This notice by HSE is a sign that things are very wrong, and workers are right to be worried about their safety.

“It is very concerning that this notice was slipped out in March. Exxon have obviously kept quiet, but it looks as if Fife Council and the Scottish Government were either kept in the dark, or if not, chose to keep quiet about it.

“Trust in Exxon, and the authorities who keep on telling people Mossmorran is safe, is at an all-time low.”

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Resident-led action group seeking redress from the long-term social, health and environmental impacts from the Mossmorran facilities in Central Fife operated by ExxonMobil (Fife Ethylene Plant) and Shell (Fife NGL).


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