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Mossmorran flaring: Exxonmobil in talks over compensation

By Angie Brown
BBC Scotland, Edinburgh and East reporter

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Exxonmobil has been in talks with council leaders about compensation for residents living near its Fife plant during five days of unplanned flaring at Easter.

The petrochemical firm said it had had a constructive discussion and would engage in any future formal proposals.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency received an "unprecedented" 600 complaints about the event.

ExxonMobil has blamed the flaring on a fault in a section of cable.

At the time the environment body, Sepa, said flaring was a legitimate safety mechanism at the plant but it was happening too often and was "wholly unacceptable".

image captionExxonmobil's ethylene plant at Mossmorran is temporarily shut down

There are an estimated 155,000 residents living in the area Mossmorran Action Group said was affected by the unplanned flaring at Easter.

Residents said the incident caused night to turn into day from the light pollution and their houses to vibrate and windows and doors to rattle.

Shorter unplanned flaring events since has caused residents and politicians to call for the ethylene plant's shutdown.

Exxonmobil chose to temporarily close its plant to undertake maintenance on its boilers in August and said it should reopen by the end of the year.

David Ross, Fife Council co-leader, said: "We raised the possibility of compensation with Exxon when we met them.

"Their response was that they did not rule this out in principle.

"It is something we will be following up on again in due course."

Stuart Neill, external affairs manager for ExxonMobil said: "We have not received any formal requests for monetary compensation from members of the public.

"When we met with the co-leaders of Fife Council earlier this year we had a constructive discussion, and we will engage further on any formal proposals they might have.

"We remain focused on the main priority of local residents, namely addressing their concerns and frustrations caused by flaring.

"We have recently announced £140m of investment to improve operational reliability, as well as a comprehensive programme to reduce the frequency and impact of flaring events."

He added that the firm already contributes an estimated £30m to the Fife economy every year and that it has also donated over £3m to local good causes and educational projects.

James Glen, chairman of the Mossmorran Action Group, said: "It is positive that talks have taken place and is recognition of the terrible impacts the residents have suffered especially during the Easter flaring event.

"Talk of compensation will be too little too late for some residents who want all flaring at the plant to stop."

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