Mossmorran ‘unplanned flaring’ spouts smoke across Fife which is seen in Edinburgh

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Thick black smoke billowing out from a large petro-chemical plant in Fife could be seen by residents in Edinburgh.

The flare at Exxon Mobil’s Mossmorran ethylene plant was visible for miles on Easter Sunday and bosses have apologised to communities nearest the facility, located just south of Cowdenbeath.

And the company has confirmed today that the flaring will continue for “a few days” because engineers are still working to bring the plant back to “normal operations.”

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On social media yesterday, Exxon Mobil said the unscheduled flaring was caused by a “process interruption” in their steam generating boiler and that the loss of steam resulted in the smoky flaring early on Sunday afternoon.

By mid-afternoon engineers stabilised the flow of steam to the flare, removing the dark smoke.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) also said it was responding to the flaring incident.

In their latest tweet today, Sepa said they were “continuing to respond to unplanned flaring” at the Mossmorran complex.

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Local councillor Darren Watt tweeted yesterday that “several concerned residents” had been in touch with him regarding the issue.

Unscheduled flaring at Fife Ethelyne Plant, Mossmorran (Pic: David Wardle)Unscheduled flaring at Fife Ethelyne Plant, Mossmorran (Pic: David Wardle)
Unscheduled flaring at Fife Ethelyne Plant, Mossmorran (Pic: David Wardle)

Mr Watt added: “Looks absolutely horrendous.”

One tweeter, Donna Donlan, said: “How many more times must we suffer this, it’s a disgrace. Beautiful Easter Sunday yet we have to stay indoors.

“My husband and I are both feeling very ill, we have headaches and are finding it difficult to breathe, this is not acceptable.”

Yvonne Munro tweeted a picture showing the smoke visible from her house in Pilton in the north of Edinburgh.

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The flaring at Mossmorran.The flaring at Mossmorran.
The flaring at Mossmorran.

And Mark Grant said: “Time to mothball the plant. This is happening more frequently and that does not look healthy for the local environment. Goodness knows what noxious chemicals are in that reek.”

It is one year since the plant was hit by an unscheduled flaring after incidents in 2017 and 2018 led to the plant owners receiving final warnings from the environmental agency.

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