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Demonstrators don Halloween masks to demonstrate against Mossmorran ‘horror show’

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Protestors donned Halloween masks to highlight the Mossmorran “horror show” as they staged a third weekend of action at the Fife plant.

More than 30 people braved the wind and rain to call for the closure of the ExxonMobil and Shell operations, which between them have more than 200 employees.

The demonstrations were prompted by a bout of flaring at the Cowdenbeath site last month, which resulted in more than 700 complaints to environment watchdog Sepa.

They are being co-ordinated by Aberdour woman Rebecca Davies, who said communities were sick of the environmental and health impacts of the petrochemical plant, a well as the fear caused by regular flaring.

She has launched a campaign called Actions Speak Louder Than Words as a way of organising local protests.

Flaring is a safety mechanism but the resulting light pollution, noise and vibrations have caused alarm among people living nearby.

An NHS Fife report last year concluded there was no evidence the plant had affected cancer rates or air quality but said it is had caused significant psychological and physical disturbance, including sleep disturbance, anxiety and stress.

Rebecca said the time for talking was over.

As protesters chanted “ExxonMobil’s got to go, we don’t need this horror show”, she said: “We have some really good testimonies of how people feel.

“There is a lot of extreme stress and mental health issues and people are on their knees emotionally.

“During the last bout of flaring the sky lit up and it was like Armageddon.

“We can’t just keep having public meetings to discuss it. We need to do something more.”

James Glen, of the Mossmorran Action Group, added: “People are now taking direct action by protesting at the plant because of the horror show residents are being subjected to.”

Scottish Greens candidate Mags Hall said people were angry and frustrated.

“This is no longer solely about the flaring,” she said.

“People are scared for the future of their families and their community if we fail to tackle climate change emissions, as well as addressing the ongoing safety concerns at the plant.”

Sepa submitted a report to the Crown Office earlier this year seeking a prosecution over prolonged flaring in April 2019, and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has now pledged to consider an independent inquiry into the plant’s future.

An ExxonMobil spokesman said the plant was one of the most modern of its type in Europe and that regular maintenance and investment was improving reliability.

‘’We understand the frustration that is caused by the use of our flare, and our commitment to reducing frequency is underlined by an additional £140 million investment in key infrastructure and new technologies due to begin in April,” he said.

‘’The Mossmorran facility is an integral part of Scotland’s energy supply, meeting the needs of homes and businesses nationwide.

“Furthermore, Fife Ethylene Plant directly supports the manufacturing supply chain for important products such as medical supplies, lightweight electric vehicles and food packaging.’

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