Mossmorran: Unplanned flaring

date14 June 2019

At 10:05 this morning (Friday 14 June 2019), SEPA was notified by Exxonmobil Chemical Ltd of unplanned flaring at Mossmorran, Fife.

SEPA activated a full operational response, including multi-agency co-ordination, regulatory and air quality monitoring.  Reflecting scientific best practice on current and predicted wind patterns, air quality monitoring was deployed at Lochgelly Fire Station.  Monitoring is being conducted for PM10, PM2.5 and benzene.

Also reflecting scientific best practice, noise monitoring is conducted against a set of standards.  These standards focus on evening and overnight noise monitoring which ensures results are not affected by background noise interference and reflect the time of likely greatest impact.

Further to direct engagement with site management, Exxonmobil Chemical Ltd advised that normal operations resumed at 15:25 and unplanned flaring had ceased.

SEPA regulatory and air quality teams are continuing monitoring.  SEPA will provide a further update on the results on Monday 17 June.

SEPA’s full, formal regulatory investigation, announced on 17 May, remains underway and continues to gather evidence.  Following SEPA and Health and Safety Executive investigations in 2018/2019, SEPA moved to tighten permit conditions and instructed ‘Best Available Techniques’ (BAT) assessments to look at ways to prevent, or where that is not practicable, reduce the impact of flaring.

These were received by SEPA by the deadline and are available to view on the public register

Reflecting the desire for additional monitoring information, on 17 May SEPA also announced that further permit variations were served on ExxonMobil Chemical Limited and Shell UK Limited to design a programme of monitoring to assess the impacts of flaring on the local community and the environment - including air quality, noise and vibration.

SEPA will scrutinise that the proposed programme has been developed in conjunction with community stakeholders and will immediately publish this following receipt.  Providing it is suitably robust SEPA will require the companies to implement it.

SEPA operates a 24hr Pollution Hotline. Reports can be submitted at sepa.org.uk/report or on 0800 80 70 60

A further update will be published on Monday 17 June 2019 at sepa.org.uk/mossmorran