Green activists converged on the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency SEPA’s Fife headquarters yesterday as part of a national day of action.
Members of Mossmorran Action Group joined supporters of Climate Camp and other groups at SEPA’s Glenrothes offices to protest about the environmental watchdog’s handling of ongoing issues at the Fife petrochemical plant office and to demand meaningful action on pollution.
Campaigners say SEPA has cut back monitoring at Mossmorran during lock-down, leaving plant operators ExxonMobil and Shell to self-report.
They say that is unacceptable after long-running problems with unplanned flaring, light and noise pollution and emissions for communities closed to the site.
Campaigners staged similar protests at SEPA offices across Scotland including Edinburgh, Perth and Stirling.
Markinch resident Jack Ferguson, one of a handful of protesters at the Glenrothes office, said he felt compelled to voice his concerns over SEPA’s handling of monitoring at Mossmorran.
“There has to better and more comprehensive monitoring at Mossomoran,” he said.
“SEPA has that power yet seems not to carry out that responsibility leaving the plant’s operators to self regulate which is outrageous.”
A spokesperson for Climate Camp Scotland, said: “We are looking for SEPA to remove all conflicts of interest as well as protect and restore trust with communities.
“We need a strong environmental agency to see out a just transition away from fossil fuels.
“They must listen and act upon the environmental, health and safety concerns of workers and the locals who live near the Mossmorran plants.”
Responding to the protest, Ian Buchanan, SEPA Chief Officer, Compliance & Beyond, said: “SEPA is clear that compliance with Scotland’s environmental laws is non-negotiable.
“We are utilising the powers given to us by the Scottish Parliament, including the conclusion of our regulatory investigation and a referral to the Crown Office for consideration of prosecution.
“The referral is part of a package of measures to ensure the site operators invest in mitigation technologies and address the root causes of unacceptable flaring, ensuring that in future flaring becomes the exception rather than routine.
“We work closely with the Health and Safety Executive, which has responsibility for site safety as part of the Competent Authority under the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations, with Fife Council and NHS Fife on areas where they have responsibility.”