FRIDAY night's meeting on flaring at the Mossmorran petro-chemical site heard that the life of the plants could be 20 or more years.

The meeting, at times an angry one, as people aired their concern about health issues, heard how a lack of trust had come from lack of proper air monitoring on the ground in communities, running from Crossgates in the west, through to Hill of Beath, Kelty, Cowdenbeath, Lumphinnans, Benarty, and the ABCD conurbation at Cardenden.

SEPA’s Ian Buchanan confirmed that higher scale air monitoring was planned to be happening soon. He added: "We will be working with the communities to provide a network of monitoring that can provide the answers that are needed. I would hope that this can be in place within three months."

Green MSP, Mark Ruskell commented: "I am very disappointed that two years after we were last here after the summer flaring of June 2017, we are virtually at the same stage.

"The lack of action is really not good enough and what this latest flaring episode showed is that it is not only the visibility of it but also the noise and vibration.

"We have heard about final warnings from SEPA but still the Fife Ethylene Plant trundles along and nothing seems to change, how can we have confidence in SEPA. The most important question for me is what is the long term future of the plants?"

Ian Buchanan said: "The level of disturbance caused in the most recent events is not permissible and I can understand the frustration being aired here tonight.

"The companies have a responsibility to tackle unacceptable circumstances."

Mr Buchanan was asked what fines Exxon could face for the recent circumstance and he said that it depended upon what stage it was dealt with, if it went to a Sheriff Court the fine would be £40,000 but at a higher level it could be any figure the Judge felt appropriate.

Cowdenbeath MSP Annabelle Ewing said: "This magnificent turn out underlines the concern the community has for what has been happening at Mossmorran.

"The questions that still remain unanswered are how did this happen; how can it be prevented in the future and what was the impact on the communities surrounding the plant?

"We also need to know what plans Exxon have for the upgrading of the site and away from that we need to have 21st century air monitoring equipment in our communities to ensure that nothing is being allowed to take place that could cause harm to people."

She added: "I will be stressing to the Scottish Government Minister that the people of the Cowdenbeath area need answers to know where they stand.

"Also I will be asking Exxon what they plan to do about compensation for the communities that have had to suffer the problems that flaring brings."

Shell plant boss, Teresa Waddington, told the meeting that she lives in Fife with her family and her company had spent some £250m on rejuvenation of the NGL plant and it was an ongoing process.

"We want to be good neighbours and and investment in the plant will not stop as we try and head off problems," she added.

Asked what the lifespan of the Mossmorran site could be Teresa Waddington indicated that it was into the 2030s.

Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath MP Lesley Laird, who established the Mossmorran Working Group, which involves representatives from all interested parties in the petrochemical site said that trust, or lack of it, in the plant operators was important.

She added: "Trust and the air monitoring processes are so important and we need a totally joined up approach towards the latter and ultimately proper funding is the key element.

"We really need the Scottish Government to get involved in this whole issue."

One mum said from the floor: "I have three children aged 11, two and one and the oldest one was petrified by the whole flaring episode.

"We have been promised things will change but nothing has."

Benarty councillor, Mary Lockhart, said that heavy industry had been part of life in the Cowdenbeath-Lochgelly area for well over 100 years with coal being the main one and it had a major effect on the environment but she added: "Our environment now is being seriously affected by this petro-chemical site and we really need get answers."

Councillors Darren Watt and Alex Campbell, aired their concern about the continuing problems caused at Mossmorran and Mr Campbell added: "This area deserves millions of pounds back from the oil companies because of the problems caused by Mossmorran."

Another Benarty council member, Lea McLelland, said that Teresa Waddington deserved great credit for being at the meeting but it underlined that Exxon were not showing the appropriate respect for the community.

Councillor Rosemary Liewald, from Cardenden, who is chair of the Fife Joint Health and Social Care Partnership, had asked for data on possible health issues that could be linked to the activities at Mossmorran and when that became available she would make it available to the public.

Benarty Community Councillor, Brian Menzies, said that a key question had to be how long will the public have to put up with the gas plants. He asked did no one at Fife Council know how long the lease had to run on the Mossmorran site?

It was suggested that this was something that councillors could find out.

MAG chair James Glen thanked everyone for their contribution and said that it was important that pressure was maintained on the companies and regulatory bodies.