THERE will be no flaring from Mossmorran this Christmas, plant operators have announced.

ExxonMobil told the Press that there’ll be no burning of excess gas on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Jacob McAlister, plant manager of the Fife Ethylene Plant, said: “Our planning for the safe re-start of our operations has always included a commitment to avoid flaring from the plant during the core Christmas period.

“We hope this confirmation will help to address any community concern resulting from recent speculative comments.

“We will be sharing more information with our communities to ensure they are fully informed at every stage of the process.”

MSP Mark Ruskell had recently raised fears that Christmas could be ‘ruined’ for local residents if they were disturbed by noise, vibration and light from the plant. It has been in shutdown since mid-August after two boilers failed, resulting in “high-volume flaring”.

The schedule for the safe re-start of operations is being developed, with the main phase projected to begin after the December 26.

Prior to Monday’s announcement, Mr Ruskell had expressed his concerns over the anticipated re-start.

In a letter Mr McAlister he said: “Given the increasing proximity to the Christmas holidays, I am extremely concerned that this flaring could coincide with these holidays, a time when most families are spending time at home with loved ones.

“The disturbance from the light, noise and vibrations caused by flaring would have a significant impact on the community at this time, and I’m sure you will agree everything possible needs to be done to avoid flaring over the Christmas break.”

The Mid-Scotland and Fife MSP asked First Minister Nicola Sturgeon earlier this month whether residents affected by flaring could expect compensation. Ms Sturgeon promised to “consider the evidence Mark Ruskell has presented here today and do so, as we would always seek to do so, in consultation with local communities”.

ExxonMobil have not ruled out paying compensation to those claiming to have been impacted, but said they have not received any formal requests from the public.

More than 600 complaints were submitted to Scotland’s environment watchdog, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) over flaring at the plant in April.

ExxonMobil say they will engage with Fife Council again if and when proposals are submitted.