MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, Lesley Laird, has sought assurances that planned flaring will be minimised at Mossmorran this week.

Shell intends to start preparations for their annual ‘turnaround’ at the plant, which will see production operations reduced over a few weeks to allow planned maintenance work to go ahead.

The operation will result in 48 hours of intermittent elevated flaring starting around 4pm on Tuesday, August 14, and again for a period of 24 hours when a module is restarted on Friday, September 14.

Lesley Laird said: “While I appreciate that it’s not always in the control of the plant to decide when to time these operations, it is still disappointing that this maintenance programme coincides with children returning to school.

“Given the level of disruption that elevated flaring causes, especially at night, to say I’m concerned is something of an understatement.”

She added: “I’ve been in contact with Shell to express my concerns and the company has assured me that it will try and minimise elevated flaring overnight Tuesday.

“In addition, I’ve been told that when elevated flaring does occur, the plant will aim to use less visible ground flares and limit use of the flare stack".

The MP added: “Shell do not anticipate the level of flaring this week will be anywhere near the scale of what we witnessed at the Mossmorran site last June, and I am sure everyone sincerely hopes that will be the case.”

In a letter sent to residents of the Cowdenbeath-Lochgelly area, Teresa Waddington, plant manager at the Fife NGL Plant, said: "We begin preparations for a planned ‘Turnaround’ at the Shell Fife NGL plant, which is when we purposefully reduce production operations over a few weeks to prioritise carrying out important, planned maintenance work.

"This activity and investment takes place most years at this time of year and is part of running a well maintained site, as well as ensuring safe operations and the integrity and longevity of the plant as a vital piece of North Sea energy supply infrastructure.

"As part of this activity, I would like to notify residents close to our operations of some planned use of the elevated flare intermittently for 48 hours from the morning of Tuesday August 14, and then again when we re-start the module from Friday September 14 for 24 hours.

"This planned use of our flares is to fully remove hydrocarbons from one of our three modules to enable us to do thorough inspections and refurbishment.

"Please be reassured that we will take measures to minimise the impact, and there is no risk to the local community. We aim to manage operations so as to use our less visible ground flares and limit use of the elevated flare stack.

"I trust you appreciate the need for us to carry out important maintenance work periodically, and find the advance notice of use of the flare helpful to minimise any inconvenience it may cause. Thank you for your understanding".