A huge flare which has lit up the Fife sky overnight since Monday does not pose a danger to the public, it has been claimed.
Bosses at the Fife Ethylene Plant at Mossmorran said the flaring was the result of a “process upset” at the site and that staff were working to restore normal operations.
It is not yet known how long this is likely to take.
The massive flame coming from the chemical plant near Cowdenbeath has turned the night sky red and can be seen across the region.
Residents from as far away as Dundee, Angus and East Lothian have reported sightings, while those living nearby claim their sleep has been disrupted as a result of the light and the noise.
Plant operator ExxonMobil Chemical Limited has apologised to the local community for any inconvenience or concern.
In a statement, a spokesman said: “The flaring is a result of a process upset on the plant.
“The flare is an essential part of the plant’s safety systems and there is a no danger to local communities or employees.
“We would like to assure you it is our aim to keep flaring to a minimum.”
The flare stack is known as a safety defence for refineries and petrochemical plants to allow extremely flammable hydrocarbons to be vented out safely.
But some local people have regularly expressed concern that the light and noise pollution is excessive and could impact negatively on their health by putting them at increased risk for cancers.
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) said it was committed to robust monitoring of the plant.
Its studies have shown that atmospheric pollutants near the Mossmorran complex are well below the level set to protect human health.
A three-year study measured benzine levels in Cowdenbeath, Lochgelly and at Little Raith Farm.
Sepa added that there was no evidence to suggest the wind turbines at Little Raith were having a detrimental impact on air quality.