Why SEPA acted against a chemical plant’s flaring

Closely-linked chemical plants operated by Shell and ExxonMobil in Fife have been ordered to make upgrades to cut the frequency of flaring. Gareth Simkins looks into why the Scottish Environment Protection Agency took action.

More than 1,300 complaints have been made this year about the two plants that make up the Mossmorran chemicals complex in Fife, operated by Shell and ExxonMobil. They were provoked by numerous episodes of flaring, some of which lasted days, according to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

Flaring can not only release dark smoke, from both ground flares and an elevated stack. It also causes rumbling noise, odour, vibration and light pollution, aggravating residents and disrupting their sleep. The light can turn night into day nearby and is visible 20km away.

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