FIVE days of flaring has started today (Thursday) at the Fife Ethylene Plant at Mossmorran.

Plant operators ExxonMobil have confirmed this morning that "essential maintenance" has begun and their elevated flare will be in operation.

Jacob McAlister, plant manager, said: "Our planned essential maintenance is now underway and, as a result, we are operating our elevated flare.

"The actions we have taken have achieved a reduced flare volume, and our team will now work round-the-clock to complete the work safely and as quickly as possible.

"As we have always indicated, we strive to avoid the use of flaring but there is a need to do so on this occasion. We apologise to anyone concerned by the flaring, and thank our local communities for their patience and understanding.

"We will continue to provide updates as the work progresses."