Some 700 home owners and 12 housing corporations in Groningen are calling on the gas extraction company NAM to compensate them for the loss in value of their homes because of the earthquake risk.
In total, they say, 100,000 homes have lost value because of the quakes which are caused by the ground settling after gas extraction.
They say the compensation should be paid immediately rather than when their homes are sold and have joined a foundation formed last year to take legal action against NAM. NAM is a 50:50 joint venture between Shell and ExxonMobil.
The foundation, known as WAG, expects the case will come to court next spring.
At the end of October NAM offered 24 home owners compensation for the loss in value after selling their homes, but this amounted to just 1% to 5% of the sales price. WAG says the offer is ‘unbelievably low’ and represents just a fraction of the true reduction in value.
WAG claims house prices in the area affected by the quakes have slumped by 25%.
The government in January agreed cut back gas extraction from below Groningen province, following mounting concern about the risk of earthquakes.
In the area around the village of Loppersum, one of the worst affected areas, gas production will be slashed by 80% for the next three years.
Total production, which reached almost 53 billion cubic metres last year, will be cut back around 20% to 42.5 billion cubic metres this year and in 2015, and reduced again to 40 billion cubic metres in 2016. This will cost the government €3.5bn in lost revenues.
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