MOSSMORRAN has had its fair share of bad press in recent months due to a prolonged flaring incident in June.

Thick black plumes of smoke filled the air earlier this year after two incidents at the Fife Ethylene Plant run by ExxonMobil Chemical Limited.

Now ExxonMobil’s neighbours, the Shell Fife NGL plant has sought to reassure West Fifers.

Teresa Waddington, 35, the new Fife NGL manager, said: “First and foremost, we want to avoid flaring at all costs. It is as negative for us as much as the community and we only do it because it is safer than not.

“It is not in our interests to flare because customers are not happy that we’re not producing and if we shut down for a time then the effects will be felt at home. This plant is part of the national infrastructure.

“We want to be good neighbours but there has been a lack of communication with the community and we want to establish more effective ways to keep them informed.”

NHS Fife have stated residents had complained of symptoms related to the flaring, such as “breathing difficulties, irritated eyes and even disturbed sleep”, but is flaring dangerous?

Teresa continued: “We have worked with the NHS to really understand this question. Data indicating how air quality changes when flaring is carried out has shown there is no link between flaring and health concerns.

"Nevertheless, we do continue to seek data because the concerns and feelings people have are real to them and we do not want to be dismissive.”

Shell continue to work with the air quality group and say the question of whether flaring is dangerous is one they are keen to answer more than anyone else.

Currently the A92 is showing higher levels of pollution than can just be attributed to flaring and so pin-pointing where the air pollution stems from can be a difficult task.

Mossmorran continues to be an important part of Shell’s portfolio as they focus on cleaner energy for the future such as natural gas, and with investment worth £350 million in recent year, the plant is fit for purpose until at least 2030.

Teresa added: “We employee 250 people and we like to hire young people from the local area.

“We gave £93,000 of social investment to Fife in 2016 and £28,000 in charitable donations. There are many different initiatives that the community can get involved in on a national scale but, specifically in Fife, we have been delivering our Girls in Energy programme for the last several years.

“It’s a one-year National Five course with Fife College and the girls have support from Shell with work experience and mentors.

“We still invest in the Fife Art Exhibition that has been running for 34 years now and have been working with police in Lochgelly to deliver the Twilight Basketball initiative.

“Police have seen a 58 per cent drop in nuisance calls on a Friday night and Stagecoach have been so impressed that they haven’t had any trouble that they’ve advertised it for free on their buses.

“You can see that there is a general desire on site to open up to the community and I believe as long as we’re honest and communicating effectively then the community will at least understand where we are coming from.”