AN investigation has been launched after ‘flaring’ at a Teesside chemical plant resulted in thick black smoke drifting across the area.

The Environment Agency (EA) is set to look at the causes of the problem after members of the public contacted them on Thursday night to complain about the incident at the Sabic plan at Wilton, near Redcar.

A spokesman for the EA said: “We are aware that the Sabic plant at Wilton, near Redcar, ‘flared’ last night, having received reports from residents in the area.

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"The Environment Agency is investigating further to help the company address the root cause and prevent a reoccurrence in the future.”

Sembcorp and SABIC have 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 smokey.

A spokesman for both companies said: "We would like to apologise for any disturbance caused by the flare which we appreciate was smokey due to the failure of the site steam supply."