COWDENBEATH MSP, Annabelle Ewing, raised her concerns about unplanned flaring at Mossmorran during Portfolio Questions in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday.

It came just a day before the public meeting in Lochgelly tonight about the week long flaring spell at Easter.

Ms Ewing said: “I took the opportunity to remind the Cabinet Secretary of my support for the call that has been made for the Scottish Government to commission an independent investigation into the unplanned flaring at Mossmorran.

“Additionally, I asked her about the review of best available techniques recently submitted by the operators of the Mossmorran complex and was pleased to be told that SEPA is currently reviewing those technical assessments with a view to providing a summary update imminently".

She added: “This is an issue on which I am determined to secure the answers my constituents are seeking. "At present I have letters in to NHS Fife, Fife Council, the Mossmorran and Braefoot Bay advisory committee, SEPA and Exxon. I am also seeking a further meeting with the chief executive with SEPA, I am meeting with Exxon at the plant in a few days and, as the Cabinet Secretary referred to in her response, am in the process of setting up a meeting with her to discuss the situation further.

“I look forward to seeing the summary update from SEPA that we have now been told is imminent. I want to see changes made to bring an end to these unplanned flaring situations.

"Final warnings should be just that, action is needed and I will be keeping up the pressure on all involved.”

After unprecedented flaring and pollution reports, Fife Council has called on the petro-chemical complex at Mossmorran to pay substantial compensation to individuals and communities and for discussions to start on decommissioning.

Meanwhile with their public meeting set to go ahead tonight at Lochgelly Town Hall, to consider the impact of the Easter flaring, the Mossmorran Action Group is hoping that the Scottish Government backs Fife Council's move to ask for an independent report into the impact on local communities of flaring and other activities particular to the petrochemical plant site.

James Glen of the Mossmorran Action Group, which was set up two years ago in response to growing local alarm at the increasing incidence of emergency flaring and its impact on neighbouring communities, said: "The Fife Council debate was momentous, and marks a historic turning point in local protests against the plant which began in the early 80s when the facility was first proposed.

"It was the first time any authority has suggested that self-regulation by the plants and regulation by SEPA are inadequate, and a full independent investigation into all the human and environmental impacts - not just noise and air quality on specific occasions - is needed.

"It was also the first time a leader of Fife Council has talked of decommissioning a plant which is not only past its sell-by date but starkly at odds with the climate change agenda and the need to reduce carbon emissions."

Conservative Councillor Linda Holt said: "The original motion for an independent study was put forward by Cowdenbeath Conservative councillor Darren Watt in response to a deluge of complaints and rising public anxiety about the safety of the plant. You could see the recent flaring from Dundee to Edinburgh and hear it across Fife, while locals reported sleeplessness, breathing difficulties and headaches, and not just children were terrified that the plant was going to blow.

"The Council was unanimous in standing with the residents in feeling that enough was enough and that corporate PR that everything was fine was no longer acceptable. It's a pity the SNP allowed party politics to get in the way of supporting such an important and much-needed statement.

"The hope is that Fife Council's decision will increase the pressure on the Scottish Government to act. It has already galvanised cross-party support for Mark Ruskell's Members' Business Debate motion which also calls for an independent investigation of the full impacts of Mossmorran."

The flaring was caused by a breakdown in the steam production system at the Fife Ethylene Plant which removes smoke from the burning of feedstock. It took six days to get the plant back to working normally.