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A Holyrood candidate for the Scottish Greens joined campaigners as protests continued outside Mossmorran chemical plant in Fife.
Mags Hall, who is standing as a candidate in next year’s Scottish Parliament elections, described the impact of the Cowdenbeath plant’s emissions as “catastrophic” as she spoke to protestors at the site on Saturday.
She said: “We feel it when we hear about job losses in the oil industry, but the plant and the government refuse be to honest about Mossmorran’s future. And our children and grandchildren will certainly feel it if we fail to tackle the catastrophic climate change emissions from this plant.
“For years these local concerns have been dismissed by the council, by the plant operators, and by the Scottish Government. But your presence here and the vocal protests this year have meant we cannot go ignored for much longer.
“We need action now to plan for a future without fossil fuels, and we will keep protesting until that work is under way.”
Campaigners have been turning out on a weekly basis after the latest bout of flaring at the ExxonMobil-run Fife Ethylene Plant, which operates alongside Shell’s Fife NGL Plant.
Last month, flaring at Mossmorran was the subject of more than 700 complaints to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, with residents raising concerns about noise and vibration, and light pollution, from the plant.
Ms Hall added: “Thousands of people across Fife are so grateful to you for turning out week after week at these demonstrations.
“Not everyone is able to join in person, but we all feel it each time this plant flares.”
An ExxonMobil spokesperson said: “Fife Ethylene Plant (FEP) is committed to minimising CO2 emissions and maximising energy efficiency.
“We report and pay for our CO2 emissions under the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), which provides us with added incentive to minimise emissions.
“ExxonMobil is pursuing technologies to enhance existing operations and develop alternative energies with a lower carbon intensity including researching breakthroughs in carbon capture and storage (CCS), and developing process technologies to reduce the energy needs of manufacturing facilities like FEP.
“Independent analysis stretching back over three decades from organisations including SEPA, Fife Council and The Independent Air Quality Monitoring Group conclude that there are no local air quality issues associated with operations at Mossmorran.
“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 in our lives including medical supplies and food packaging.”