Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Drones could be deployed over Mossmorran to monitor compliance


Drones could be used to monitor Mossmorran by Scotland’s environment watchdog.

Sepa’s visits to sites it regulates including the Fife petrochemical plant have been curtailed by restrictions on non-essential travel during the coronavirus pandemic.

Chief executive Terry A’Hearn revealed the aerial devices could be used to keep a watching brief and prove more effective than officers visiting in person.

He updated the Scottish Parliament’s environment, climate change and land reform committee on monitoring of Fife Ethylene Plant, run by ExxonMobil Chemical, and Shell’s Fife NGL Plant, amid tight controls on officers attending.

Although voicing caution over the approach, he said intelligence from drones could be gathered.

He said: “We actually think… there are some more effective ways even than site visits that we can use that might give us quite significant new evidence that can really improve our ability to ensure compliance and enforcement.”

Committee member Green MSP Mark Ruskell welcomed exploration of alternative methods but added: “The value of boots on the ground mustn’t be forgotten.

“Remote monitoring has its place but some issues need to be experienced in the same way that those living in afflicted communities around the plant experience them.”

Mr A’Hearn said reduced site visits during lockdown had not been a big barrier so far but monitoring could become more difficult over the longer term.

He said: “Sometimes 100% of what we need to do to get compliance we can do over the phone at the moment.

“Sometimes the 10% of the activity that could be done at the site might make a big difference.

“It’s the mix of things and again trying to use other mechanisms such as – once more I’ll always be cautious about using this – using drones intelligence.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in