Minister advised to speed up Groningen home reinforcements

Milieudefensie and Groningen residents dump fracking earthquake rubble in front of the Ministry of Economic Affairs in The Hague, 26 Oct 2017
Milieudefensie and Groningen residents dump fracking earthquake rubble in front of the Ministry of Economic Affairs in The Hague, 26 Oct 2017. Photo: @milieudefensie / Twitter

The repair and reinforcement of homes that suffered serious damage as a result of gas extraction earthquakes in Groningen, needs to be speeded up, the state supervision on mines SoDM said in advice to Minister Eric Wiebes of Economic Affairs, RTL Nieuws reports.

According to SoDM research, there are around 1,900 homes in the region that, if not reinforced quickly, do not meet the government's safety standards. These safety standards state that the risk of someone dying as a result of an earthquake must not be higher than the risk of someone dying in the event of flooding elsewhere in the Netherlands. These 1,900 homes must therefore be inspected and reinforced as soon as possible.

Another 3,100 homes also need urgent attention. And 2,100 others need temporary reinforcement, at least until 2021. After that the temporary reinforcement won't be needed any longer, because gas production will have been reduced and the risk will meet the government's safety standards. 

Because of Wiebes' decision to significantly reduce and eventually completely stop gas extraction in Groningen, fewer homes will need reinforcement than initially thought.

The SoDM also looked at how the reduction in gas extraction will affect the risk of earthquakes in Groningen. The conclusion was that until 2020 the risk of earthquakes will increase if gas extraction remains at more or less the current level. After that the risk will decrease as gas extraction is decreased and eventually stopped. 

The Minister's approach to strengthening homes in the earthquake zone led to last month. Alders was upset that Wiebes decided to wait to start reinforcement work until he received advice from the Mining Council. 

 

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