A local community group representing residents adversely impacted by the operations of Mossmorran has hit out at a roundtable event organised by Lesley Laird to address their concerns. The group is boycotting the event because it believes it is politically motivated and designed to shore up the status quo.
The meeting to be held today (Friday 12th January 2018) includes representatives from Fife Council and SEPA, with Shell and ExxonMobil sending a team of representatives.
A spokesperson from Lairds office says:
“Lesley and Professor Wilson Sibbett will be facilitating a roundtable event on Mossmorran. The intention of the roundtable is to facilitate an open discussion where everyone can contribute their thoughts and opinions on monitoring and communication practices. This will focus on the way forward rather than spend too much time on looking back.”
11am – 1pm, 12th January 2018
The Office of Lesley Laird MP
- Welcome and introductions
- Review the current role and remit of the Independent Monitoring Committee
a. What is working well?
b. What could be improved?
c. What is not being covered in the current reporting mechanisms that perhaps should be?Should the role and remit of the Independent Monitoring Committee be refreshed and if so, what would be required to make any changes?
- Communications and Community Relationships
a. What is working well?
b. What could be improved?
c. What is not being covered in the current reporting mechanisms that perhaps should be?Should the current methods of community engagement be refreshed and if so, what would be required to review and improve the current communication methods?
- Any other business?
- Next steps
Professor Wilson Sibbett – Chair of the Independent Monitoring Committee
Lesley Laird MP – Member of Parliament for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath
Sonia Bingham – ExxonMobil Chemical, Plant Manager – Fife Ethylene Plant
Teresa Waddington – Shell Fife NGL Plant, Plant Manager
Alex Rhodes – Shell, External Relations
Ben Lindsey – Shell, Environmental
Ian Brocklebank – SEPA, Operations Technical Support Unit
Dr Karen Galea – Institute of Occupational Medicine
Linda Turner – Fife Council – Service Manager – Environmental Health (Public Protection)
Roy Stewart – Fife Council, Senior Manager Protective Services
Representative from the Mossmorran Action Group
“When we met Ms Laird before Christmas, we were clear that any roundtable discussion should not be politically partisan. We wanted invitations sent out to all the MSPs who have publicly supported the community’s calls for a proper investigation of Mossmorran’s impacts.
MSPs Mark Ruskell, Annabelle Ewing and Alexander Stewart all came to the public meeting we organized in July 2017 and have been working hard to address our concerns, both in Fife and at Holyrood, but these strong and informed voices are being excluded from the roundtable discussion.
Of the eleven places at the roundtable discussion, only one has been reserved for a community representative. All the rest are occupied by professionals with vested interests in defending the status quo. When the supposed point of the event is to address community concerns, it’s hard to see how the lone MAG representative will be able to get much of a hearing, let alone a fair appraisal, for the community’s concerns.
ExxonMobil and Shell are sending four representatives to the meeting, yet they have had every opportunity to meet those directly affected by plant operations. They refused to attend July’s mass public meeting, preferring instead to put out intermittent PR that Mossmorran is perfectly safe. We can only assume they are happy to join Ms Laird’s roundtable because they are confident of steering the outcome to their advantage.”
Fife Green MSP Mark Ruskell said, “The environmental compliance of Mossmorran relates to powers devolved to the Scottish Parliament, it’s therefore disappointing that a meeting has been convened excluding MSPs. Community confidence in the management of Mossmorran is at rock bottom, any attempt to restore community relations has to be built on total transparency and accountability.”
Mr Glen further adds:
“Once again what is supposed to be an open discussion with the community has turned into a cosy get-together behind closed doors between operators and regulators. Since 1985 when Mossmorran opened, the authorities, including local politicians, have colluded with the operators to play down how pollution, noise, vibration and light emissions from the plant are harming the health and well-being of neighbouring communities.
It’s a great pity Ms Laird, like Shell and Exxon, chose to miss July’s public meeting or else she might have understood the fundamental breakdown of trust between local people and Mossmorran’s operators and regulators.
We are extremely disappointed that Ms Laird has put party-political advantage ahead of the opportunity to build a cross-party consensus to push for an independent investigation into the full range of environmental, health and social impacts generated by the plant.”
The Mossmorran Action Group are lobbying the Scottish Government for an independent social and health impact study due to repeated concerns that ExxonMobil, Shell, regulators such as SEPA or responsible authorities such as Fife Council have not been genuinely interested in establishing what are the impacts so that effective mitigation can be put in place.