MID SCOTLAND and Fife MSP Mark Ruskell has called on the Scottish Government to close Mossmorran despite them having no power to do so.

The Green MSP called on Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham last week to begin planning now for the long-term closure of the Fife Ethylene Plant.

This comes with a public meeting set to take place at Lochgelly Town Hall on Friday night at 7pm called by the Mossmorran Action Group.

He said: "There’s no sign from Mossmorran’s owners that they are prepared to invest to give the plant a future, so it's becoming increasingly clear that it will need to shut down."

Plant operators ExxonMobil Chemical Ltd announced after the latest case of flaring in April that they would be making a "multi-million pound" investment to prevent the frequency of unplanned flaring.

Mr Ruskell continued: "A study into health impacts is important and despite commitments given to me from the Public Health Minister (Jeane Freeman) we see no progress, however. continuing to stare at the problems Mossmorran creates doesn't deal with the solution. We need to learn the lessons from Longannet and ensure that a long-term plan to shut the site is started now, ensuring that no workers at the plant are left behind.

"The Just Transition Commission has been set up specifically to deal with these difficult long-term questions about how changes can take place and should be brought in to discuss a future plan with unions, communities and the plant operators."

Responding to Mr Ruskell's comments, a Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The Scottish Government does not have the power to close Mossmorran."

ExxonMobil stated they had offered the MSP the chance to visit the plant and re-iterated their investment plans.

A spokesperson said: "We note Mr Ruskell’s statement and would welcome the opportunity for an informed discussion on the points he has raised.

"Only last week, we shared directly with Mr Ruskell our planned multi-million pound investment programme that will work to further minimise the frequency and impact of unplanned flaring. This is in addition to investments in maintenance and modernisation totalling over £100m in the last five years alone. We, again, invite Mr Ruskell to visit the Fife Ethylene Plant to better understand not only our operations, but also the vital economic and employment benefits we bring to communities in Fife."

The latest incident of unplanned flaring at Mossmorran sparked large protests from local residents and politicians, leading to SEPA receiving more than 900 complaints on their 24-hour pollution hotline, one of the highest numbers received for any single event.

Protesters also gather outside Fife House at the start of this month wearing gas masks.

The Mossmorran Action Group (MAG) carried out the demonstration while councillors were urged to back Cllr Darren Watt's motion to call on the council to press the Scottish Government to commission an independent expert study following last month's flaring.