THERE is “no sound reason” why the Scottish Government cannot hold an independent enquiry into the Mossmorran Petro Chemical site, says Lesley Laird.

The MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath has written to Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham MSP yet again asking her to reconsider her decision not to intervene.

Ms Cunningham said she had significant doubts as to what an independent investigation would add to SEPA and HSE’s investigations.

But Ms Laird responded: “I feel your reply suggested that SEPA was already on top of the situation but I would suggest given the further announcement that Fife Ethylene Plant could be shut until the end of the year – an unprecedented situation and length of closure - that the situation is far more serious than you are acknowledging. ”

She added: “During talks with SEPA last week I learned that while this arrangement is workable at this time, given lower levels of demand. "However, as the weather gets colder and demand on the National Grid increases, questions need to be asked as to how the plant will able to cope over the winter months and how this risk is being managed?

“This in conjunction with recent significant developments brings into sharp focus the changing picture of performance of this site, the escalating list of issues and the level of investigation in the round that is now required to give reassurance to surrounding communities.”

The plant’s shutdown had only amplified “deeply felt concerns”, the MP said.

She added: “There is no sound reason, given the number of incidences and the severity of them, and especially given current circumstances where catastrophic failure has raised questions about the future competency of the plant, not to run a Scottish Government investigation.

“In fact, speed is now of vital concern and valuable time could be saved if the Scottish Government intervened providing the proper resources to ensure this work is focused and delivers the clarity communities expect”

She concluded: “At the heart of all these environmental, safety and health concerns are communities that deserve answers. Restore their confidence - exercise your ministerial responsibility and bring clarity and transparency to these events.”

See our other story on the FEP possibly remaining closed until December.