Since plant operations began at Mossmorran in 1985 residents have been subject to negative impacts ranging in severity.
The degradation of the quality of life for some of the most heavily impacted residents is often ignored or dismissed. Neither the severity of the impacts nor the different ways in which they affect people’s lives has been recognised or acknowledged.
A video by Lochgelly resident Mrs Haldane showing the impact from vibration in the home has recently surfaced on social media. This is a long-term issue for some residents, and has been a common complaint, yet it has never been addressed by the plant operators, local representatives, or by regulatory bodies.
Regulatory bodies and the plant operators, Shell (Fife NGL) and ExxonMobil (Fife Ethylene Plant) engage with local communities through the “Mossmorran and Braefoot Bay Community & Safety Committee” as part of their licence and conditions for continued plant operations.
This committee meets four times yearly. Councillors and community councillors from each community in the vicinity of the Braefoot Bay plant and Mossmorran facilities help form the committee.
The purpose of the committee is to relay local concerns and issues to the plant operators and SEPA so that the issues can be addressed (where possible), and provide an opportunity for the corporations to respond and feedback to the local areas.
Despite this mechanism existing for local communities to provide feedback to the plant operators and regulatory bodies, the committee has been ineffective to-date, with serious flaws emerging in the governance, accountability and transparency of the committee.
Meetings are closed to the public and held in Dunfermline, far away from where the operational impacts from the plant are felt, and minutes are not made publicly available.
In 2013, in a bid to improve the transparency of the committee and improve local communications, the committee agreed to make minutes publicly available, coupled with reports from ExxonMobil, Shell and SEPA.
This never materialised and the only minutes available in the public domain are one set from 2013 provided by Fife Council, one set from 2015 provided by SEPA, and five set of minutes obtained via the Freedom of Information act which we distribute via the LCC archive.
The reports from SEPA, ExxonMobil and Shell are not available in the public domain.
The integrity of councillors and community councillors also faced long overdue scrutiny in 2012 when it emerged that some members of the Mossmorran and Braefoot Bay Community & Safety Committee were in regular receipt of luxurious gifts from the plant operators.
An online survey conducted by Shining Waters in 2012, asked 206 residents if “accepting gifts compromised the integrity of representatives”, 77.53% of the responses agreed that the integrity of councillors and community councillors was compromised. Only 3.37% of the responses were neutral, and 16.85% provided no answer.
Despite the public outcry, some councillors and community councillors continue to accept expensive gifts from the plant operators, further eroding trust and the transparency of local representation through the Mossmorran and Braefoot Bay Community & Safety Committee.
With a closed meeting of the committee planned tonight, will local issues finally be raised and information fed back into local communities?
What will be discussed, a representative from ExxonMobil has told one of our volunteers, is the Mossmorran Action Group call for a public meeting that will allow residents the opportunity to raise their concerns and share details of the impacts they have faced from the Mossmorran complex.
The public meeting is to be held at Lochgelly Town Hall on 5th July starting at 7pm – 9pm. MSPs, Councillors, SEPA, NHS Fife, Fife Council, Shell and ExxonMobil have all been invited to attend.
Credits & Copyrights: Stacey Haldane (video)