Mossmorran to temporarily shut down over latest flaring incident

The plant has been flaring for several days
The plant has been flaring for several days
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BOSSES at Mossmorran Chemical Plant are to temporarily halt operations after days of 'unplanned flaring' at the controversial site attracted hundreds of complaints.

ExxonMobil UK say locals can expect flaring to 'reduce' at the ethylene facility over the next few days after the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) announced an investigation into the latest incident at the plant.

It comes over a year after Exxon and Shell UK - who jointly operate the plant - were served a final warning by the watchdog after previous burning incidents

The flare has been clearly visible across the Forth for several days, with one resident branding the orange flame "brighter than the moon".

Others have blasted the noise generated by the process, with some reporting their homes "vibrated".

Plant manager Jacob McAlister said: "We have now started the process of safely shutting down our operation to execute maintenance on our boilers."

"We have made the necessary arrangements to reduce the flow of gas coming from the North Sea, allowing us to begin the key step of taking our furnaces out of operation.

"These steps will also start the gradual reduction of the flare."

SEPA said environmental licences were breached and increased monitoring would be put in place following seven days of unplanned flaring in June 2017, leading to a 'final warning' notice being handed to bosses.

However, in April, days of "unplanned flaring" at the chemical plant sent a plume of thick black smoke billowing into the sky - attracting a record number of complaints.

Operators blamed a "process interruption" for a 30ft high orange flame erupting from the ethylene plant near Cowdenbeath on Easter Sunday after locals reported they were unable to open their windows or sit outside in gardens on one of the hottest days of the year.