Given the further unplanned elevated flaring by Exxon at Mossmorran this week, just a few short weeks after the last major incident, the First Minister will understand how weary my constituents have become with the whole thing. Does she agree that we have gone beyond the final warning that was issued by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency last year and that all necessary steps must be taken as a matter of urgency by the regulator and the operator failing which, the licence to continue to operate must surely be brought into question?
I absolutely understand what Annabelle Ewing describes as the weariness of her constituents and I understand and share the concerns of local people. To put it mildly, it was extremely disappointing that there was a further flaring incident on Tuesday, so soon after the restart of the plant. I know that it will have added greatly to the frustration of the local community. SEPA shares that disappointment and is urgently seeking detailed information on the latest incident.
The Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform spoke to SEPA and the Health and Safety Executive after the previous episode to understand the action that they are taking. I understand that SEPA’s focus is to follow through on the requirements that it has placed on the operator to reduce the frequency and impact of flaring. That involves major works at the plant and it will take time to see the full benefit. However, I am absolutely clear—and I agree with Annabelle Ewing on this—that the operator must take all necessary steps to reduce the impact on residents and fully address their concerns.