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Protests about flaring from the Fife Ethylene Plant (FEP) took on a festive flavour at the weekend.
Weekly events have been held at Mossmorran since the middle of October amid continuing concern about unplanned and disruptive flaring from the complex.
Saturday afternoon’s demo was bolstered by a candlelight vigil organised by the Actions Speak Louder Than Words group in Cowdenbeath High Street as part of its ‘Cry for Closure’ campaign.
Another short period of flaring was reported by locals on Friday evening, with some residents complaining about the noise and vibration coming from the plant as a result.
For Saturday’s vigil, local councillor Mary Bain Lockhart produced a number of Christmas carols which had been specially adapted to the Mossmorran theme.
The latest demo comes days after bosses from ExxonMobil told local councillors a contract had been awarded to install a new ground level flare.
It is spending £140 million on reducing flaring, noise and vibrations from next year with measures such as a new flare tip.
American combustion products firm Zeeco Inc has been awarded a contract to design and build a new ‘enclosed ground flare’ which is expected to contain up to 98% of the plant’s flaring activity, particularly in situations where long periods are necessary.
Martin Burrell, manager of the plant, told Fife Council’s Cowdenbeath area committee on Wednesday: “What we’re putting it in for is to make it clear that where we do have periods of extended flaring that we can do it with a minimum impact on the community.”
Kylie Bishop, site environmental engineer, said the new flare would be on site by 2022 and would be integrated into the plant’s systems by the end of that year.
“This is significantly different technology to that currently used in the elevated and ground flares on the facility,” he said.
“It will be an enclosed ground flare so you cannot see the flame at all, it significantly reduces the visibility…light emissions and noise because of the way the burners are lined up.”