Fife’s Green MSP Mark Ruskell has called on the Scottish Government to ensure an equalities impact assessment is included in any investigations into the Fife Ethylene Plant at Mossmorran, to take into account the experiences of people with autism who live around the plant.
Questioning the Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham in the Scottish Parliament, Mr Ruskell said that the recent public meeting in Lochgelly had highlighted the experiences of families living with autism, which can make people more sensitive to the noise, vibrations and light produced by the plant, especially when flaring.
Fife Council recently passed a motion calling for an independent review into the environmental, health and social impacts of the plant, but the Environment Secretary said that such a study could prejudice the ongoing inquiry by SEPA.
Mark Ruskell MSP said:
“The powerful testimonies I heard at the recent public meeting in Lochgelly really brought it home what a negative impact this plant is having on families day to day lives, but the impact can be so much worse when a person is living with autism. Increased sensory sensitivity can result in extreme stress and anxiety for both adults and children, and this has to be taken into account when assessing the impacts of this plant.
“I’m not aware of any equalities impact assessment that’s been carried out by SEPA, Fife Council or NHS Fife that takes into account the experiences of people with autism in the local community. This needs to be progressed as a matter of urgency, and should form a central part of the environmental, health and social impacts study that Fife council and the local community have requested.”
Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said she would look into the issue and liaise with NHS Fife, who are carry out a review of health data for the area.