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Mossmorran and Braefoot Bay

Aerial view of Mossmorran plant

(Image courtesy of SEPA)

The Mossmorran complex is located near Cowdenbeath and Lochgelly, in the heart of Fife. It consists of two neighbouring plants: the Fife Natural Gas Liquids (Fife NGL) plant operated by Shell U.K. Limited, and the Fife Ethylene Plant (FEP) operated by ExxonMobil Chemical Limited.

The Shell Fife Natural Gas Liquids plant (FNGL) receives Natural Gas Liquids (NGL) from the St. Fergus gas terminal in Aberdeen. The incoming natural gas liquid is separated at FNGL into propane, ethane, butane and natural gasoline.

The ethane is sent to the adjoining ExxonMobil Fife Ethylene Plant (FEP) and the other products are sent off-site to the adjacent Avanti Gas Terminal and to Braefoot Bay Marine Terminal for export.

The ExxonMobil FEP produces ethylene from ethane through a process known as “thermal or steam cracking”. Additional ethane can be received from Ineos Chemical Grangemouth Limited via a pipeline.

Ethylene is either exported by ship via the ExxonMobil terminal at Braefoot Bay, or to other consumers in the UK via the cross-country ethylene distribution system.

Who regulates Mossmorran?

The plants are regulated by both the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), to meet the regulators’ strict safety and environmental standards.

SEPA have a statutory responsibility to ensure the regulated processes on the site do not exceed European air quality objectives.

Other organisations involved in regulating the site include Public Health Scotland, Fife Council, NHS Fife, and Forth Ports.

Fife Council’s role

It's the responsibility of affected Councils to set up and run a community liaison committee, according to the original 1977 application for outline planning permission. This became the Mossmorran and Braefoot Bay Community and Safety Liaison Committee.

The Mossmorran and Braefoot Bay Independent Air Quality Monitoring Review Group (the Review Group) was also formed. It provides advice and recommendations to Fife Council (formerly Fife Regional Council and Dunfermline and Kirkcaldy District Councils) regarding the monitoring of air emissions arising from the operations at the Mossmorran plants and the Braefoot Bay terminal facilities (operated by Shell UK Limited and ExxonMobil Chemical Limited).

Fife Council’s Environment and Protective Services Subcommittee (September 2020) agreed the Mossmorran and Braefoot Bay Community and Safety Committee would be the recognised forum for community oversight, where issues and concerns from the community can be raised.

In addition to the Community and Safety Committee, three additional Expert Advisory Groups (EAGs) were formed, each with specific remits:

  • Air quality (continuing the same role as the Mossmorran & Braefoot Bay Independent Air Quality Monitoring Review Group)
  • Noise, light and vibration
  • Communications

The EAGs carry out tasks assigned by the Community and Safety Committee including:

  • Submitting reports to the Mossmorran and Braefoot Bay Community and Safety Committee and to Fife Council
  • Making presentations as appropriate to representatives of the Community Councils local to the Mossmorran plants and the Braefoot Bay terminal.

EAG meetings are held as considered necessary but are generally once a year. Reports on air quality are issued on an annual basis, and reports on noise, vibration and light are produced as required.

The three EAGs include representatives from Fife Council, local Community Councils and public health professionals, to assist with relevant, timely and informative communications for local communities.

Further information