NICOLA Sturgeon will ask the operator of the Mossmorran plant in Fife to stop flaring over Christmas.

The Fife Ethylene Plant has been shut since August after two of its three boilers failed. Operator ExxonMobil Chemical initially said it may restart in December.

The noise, vibration and light during flaring has caused huge amounts of grief for those living near the plant, by Cowdenbeath.

Locals have complained of losing sleep and other health issues.

READ MORE: Mossmorran switches to ethane furnaces to reduce flaring

A recent report by NHS Fife concluded the flaring has caused “a considerable degree of physical and psychological disturbance” to people living in the area.

Yesterday, during First Minister’s Questions, the Green’s co-leader, Patrick Harvie, asked the SNP leader for her help.

He said: “The plant is currently shut down, but a restart is imminent, and the Scottish Greens have called for the community to be given a break at least over the holidays. So far, ExxonMobil has committed only not to restarting from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day.

“Will the First Minister join me in calling on the operators to commit to no flaring over the entire Christmas and new year period?”

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Sturgeon said she would “undertake to ensure that the suggestion is discussed with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa), and that it is, in turn, discussed with ExxonMobil”.

She added: “I do not think that is an unreasonable request from the local community. I appreciate their very understandable concerns and anxieties about flaring at the Mossmorran complex.

“The frequency of unplanned flaring recently has been completely unacceptable, and Sepa and the Health and Safety Executive are monitoring developments closely as the plant restarts. That has to be done with minimum impact and in a way that reduces the anxiety of the local community.

“I am happy to take that request forward,” she added.