A MASSIVE flame from a chemical plant chimney has been lighting up the insides of nearby homes and keeping residents awake at night.

The flames, which emit huge plumes of black smoke, have also been making an almighty roar, disturbing the peace of Lazenby, near Middlesbrough.

The shadow of the Olefins 6 chemical plant, owned by SABIC, at nearby Wilton looms over the village, and the flame has been lighting up the sky since 7.30am yesterday (Thursday December 13).

It has sent out a large plume of black smoke stretching for miles.

SABIC has apologised and has explained the flares are  part of a plant safety system and is not a danger.

John Dorrian, 39, who lives with his family a kilometre away, said: "It is like a perpetual dawn.

"The light shines into the house, it is bright all the time and I am going to work after having had just three hours sleep."

Farmer Alice Moore, 77, who has lived in Lazenby for 57-years said: "The flare shines into our old farmhouse meaning that if we have to get up we don't have to switch a lamp on."

Mike Ducker, manufacturing director of SABIC, sent a letter of apology to residents.

He said: "I am aware that essential maintenance work on out salt water system has caused an unpleasant odour."

He said that the flaring was caused by "issues with instrumentation" due to severe weather conditions and added the firm hopes  to bring the unit  back into production this evening (Friday, December 14) - which should stop the flaring overnight.

"Please be assured that neither the flaring nor the odor present any risk to health, but none the less we recognise the nuisance and concern that both may have caused," he added.