Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Flaring respite broken by Mossmorran chemical plant

Shell ground flaring light pollution Image copyright Verona Adam/Mossmorran Action Group
Image caption Light pollution from Shell ground flaring as seen in Cowdenbeath

Neighbours of a chemical plant in Fife have said a hoped-for respite from light and noise pollution as Exxonmobil halted operations for a month has been broken.

There has been extra flaring from the other chemical plant sharing the site.

Mossmorran Action Group said the closure on 15 August had caused a knock-on effect to the Shell Fife NGL plant.

Shell said it expected short periods of elevated flaring which could be smoky.

Plant manager Theresa Waddington said she regretted it could last a month.

Image copyright Verona Adam/Mossmorran Action Group
Image caption Light pollution in Cowdenbeath

Following the temporary shutdown of ExxonMobil's neighbouring Fife ethylene plant (FEP) plant, Shell said it was having to adjust its operations to keep processing.

Ms Waddington said the flow of gas to the plant from the North Sea had been reduced to allow Shell to stop the supply of ethane to FEP while it was not operating.

"Due to these unusual circumstances, there have been occasional, short periods of minutes of low volume flaring in the Fife NGL plant's elevated flare," she said.

"The Fife NGL ground flares have also been in use."

She added: "Looking ahead to the period during which FEP remains shut down…I expect this pattern to continue, regrettably, as we manage the situation.

"This means there are likely to be occasional short periods of flaring in the elevated flare stack on site.

"Due to the absence of steam from FEP, which would allow for clean combustion, this could be smoky for short periods."

James Glen, chairman of the Mossmorran Action Group, told the BBC Scotland news website, said: "We are really upset about this as we thought we were going to get a month of respite following Exxonmobil's temporary closure.

"Now we have discovered all the closure has done is causing a knock-on effect to Shell.

"I have received reports from the community of rumbling and light pollution again.

"There is a lot of noise and it's at a low frequency so it's causing rumbling.

"We need noise monitoring in homes not just outside, as noise can be amplified inside property."

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