A chemical plant has been told to take “various actions” after flaring caused heavy black smoke.
A huge flame and plumes of thick smoke were visible across Teesside in the incident in April at the Cracker, near Redcar.
Site operators Sembcorp and Sabic apologised for the flaring at the Olefins 6 plant.
But the Environment Agency, which oversees issues such as emissions, investigated the flaring after receiving complaints from concerned members of the public.
A spokeswoman for the Environment Agency has now confirmed that no breaches of permit took place but that they advised the companies needed to act to reduce the likelihood of flaring happening in the future.
She said: “Following several instances of ‘flaring’ at the Sabic plant earlier in the year we carried out a formal investigation to establish whether the operator had breached the conditions of their permit.
“We established that no breaches had taken place – however we requested meetings with both Sabic and Sembcorp to discuss the situation.
“At these meetings both companies undertook to carry out various actions to reduce the likelihood of flaring happening in the future.
“We will be contacting them again in a few months’ time to check that these actions have been completed.”
As reported, Sembcorp and Sabic said flaring is a controlled process and an essential part of the plant’s safety systems.
However, on this occasion issues with steam supply to the plant led to the flare being smoky.
Bosses say gases emitted by the flaring are similar to those used for domestic cookers and camping canisters, and don’t pose a health risk.
But people living nearby have told the Gazette that the flaring is a “problem”.
A Sabic spokesman said: “Following the flaring at the end of 2012 and early in 2013 SABIC can confirm that there have been no further major flaring events since that time.
“SABIC and Sembcorp continue to work, and are making progress, on the range of improvement actions which have been discussed with the Environment Agency.
“SABIC are fully aware of the disturbance caused to our neighbours by flaring and will continue to strive to prevent and minimise the effects of such events.
“Flaring is the term given to the controlled burning of process gases from the top of a flare stack. It is an integral part of the Olefins 6 Cracker’s safety systems. It is necessary in order to safely shut the plant down and bring it back on line again in a controlled way following a process upset. “
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