NHS Fife has called for action on the flaring from Mossmorran amid health concerns from the plumes of thick black smoke that emanated from the plant on Sunday. 

The health board convened a meeting with Health Protection Scotland, SEPA and Fife Council to agree a plan in light of the prolonged flaring from the ExxonMobil site, between Crossgates and Cowdenbeath.

There have been a considerable number of complaints from the local community and SEPA has now launched an investigation.

Consultant in Public Health, Dr Chris McGuigan said: “We already know of at least one instance where emission of black smoke from flaring at Mossmorran exceeded the 15 minute limit imposed as an operating condition and we are pleased that SEPA has committed to a full investigation, which will look at the causes of the incident and the steps being taken to ensure it does not happen again.

“We are also hearing people have been experiencing a range of symptoms which they relate to the flaring, such as breathing difficulties, irritated eyes and even disturbed sleep due to the noise accompanying the flaring.

“Clearly this is a distressing and worrying situation for the community and we would advise anyone experiencing symptoms that they believe may be related to the flaring to get help from the their local pharmacist, the NHS Inform website https://www.nhsinform.scot/ or NHS 24.

"Symptoms are likely to be short lived but if they persist arrange to see your GP.”

SEPA will liaise with the Mossmorran and Braefoot Bay Air Quality Review Group during their investigation, which is an independently chaired group consisting of representatives from NHS Fife, SEPA, Fife Council, the Institute of Occupational Medicine and other community representatives.

ExxonMobil apologised for the second time in a week after thick black smoke belched out of the plant on Sunday, the result of a "temporary disruption to the feedstock process". 

They first said sorry last week after a "process upset" led to extensive flaring, with locals complaining about the large flame, noise and vibrations from the site. 

The increasing incidents of flaring - the burning of excess or waste gas - at Mossmorran led Mid Scotland and Fife MSP, Alex Rowley, to call for an independent review into the chemical plant. 

And Cowdenbeath MSP, Annabelle Ewing, said: “I am aware that the recent flaring at Mossmorran has been causing much anxiety in my constituency and I share many of the concerns that have been expressed to me.

“I have written to the Cabinet Secretary for the Environment regarding what action the Scottish Government can take in regard the situation, for example through SEPA.

“I am also arranging a meeting at Mossmorran so that I can discuss, first hand, on site, with representatives of operators ExxonMobi the concerns that I have.”

Earlier this week, an ExxonMobil spokesperson told the Press: "ExxonMobil Chemical Ltd apologises to the local communities for the flaring at the Fife Ethylene Plant, Mossmorran.

"The flare is an essential part of the plant's safety systems and there is no danger to local communities or employees.

"This flaring is the result of a sudden, temporary disruption to the feedstock process for the plant during the evening of Sunday, June 18.

"This flaring is a separate issue from last week's process upset, which was resolved on Saturday at 9.20am."

They added: "We aim to keep flaring to a minimum and are currently in the process of resuming normal operations.

"We anticipate completion within the next 36 hours."