There was widespread anger at ExxonMobil’s no-show at a meeting organised to discuss flaring at its Mossmorran plant.
The public, at a packed meeting organised by Mossmorran Action Group, repeatedly said there simply was no trust in the plant any more.
Cowdenbeath community council’s Liz Rae said a survey had shown a range of concerns, “but the biggest thing coming out was a complete lack of trust about what’s going on at Mossmorran”.
In a statement, Fife Ethlyene Plant manager Jacob McAlister said no one would be attending “due to the unavailability of senior plant managers”.
But he went on to say the global giant also did not believe that this particular meeting would “provide an opportunity for fair, constructive and informed discussion”.
And he said the firm had made offers to MAG to go on site for a question and answer session, which it had chosen, so far, not to accept.
He said ExxonMobil would “again reach out to members of the local community” with invitations to “build mutual understanding and trust”.
However, group chairman James Glen said the company’s decision not to attend showed its complete contempt for the communities which host the plant who have been forced to endure unacceptable impact in terms of pollution, noise, light and vibration.
And it showed how little respect ExxonMobil had for local people and their political representatives.
Mr Glen said he had been on two visits to Mossmorran, which he dubbed little more than a propaganda tour.
Nevertheless, the meeting would continue to offer invitations to ExxonMobil to face the public at meetings.
However, Teresa Waddington, plant manager of the neighbouring Shell NGL plant, was applauded for the “guts” to attend by SNP councillor Lea McLelland.
Since the latest prolonged bout of flaring at Mossmorran there have been calls for the plant’s closure.
An unprecedented 900 complaints were lodged with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency about the flaring at Easter.
Raised time and time again at the meeting were the community’s fears for living in the shadow of the ageing plant.
People spoke of the impact on health, whether it was physical symptoms, or its impact on mental health issues and called on NHS Fife to play a role in studying wellbeing issues.
One mum said her autistic child had been “absolutely petrified” by the prolonged flaring.
Also coming under fire was Sepa, which yesterday also revealed it would serve further permit variations on ExxonMobil and Shell to ensure they designed a programme of monitoring to assess the impact of flaring on the community and environment.
But the environmental watchdog was left in no doubt the public wanted to see better and more comprehensive air quality monitoring and soon.
Sepa served final warnings on both companies last year for flaring, but members of the public questioned when a final warning would actually mean just that.
Mr Glen said MAG would continue to push at Scottish Government level for an independent assessment.