Some 800 houses in Groningen are to be fitted with aluminium chimneys which are better able to withstand earthquakes.
Tens of thousands of buildings in Groningen province have been affected by subsidence caused by the land settling after gas has been extracted.
‘The shaking of a house during an earthquake can loosen the chimney,’ a spokesman for the centre for safe living CVW told Radio 1. ‘This can then fall, causing more damage and possibly hitting bystanders.’
The new chimneys are made from aluminium with a thin stone cladding to match the house, and are much lighter than the traditional brick chimneys. ‘Those can weigh 600 or 700 kilos and are much more likely to fall during a severe earthquake,’ the CVW said.
At the beginning of this year the cabinet agreed to a substantial cut in gas extraction over the next three years because of the earthquake risk. In Loppersum, the epicenter of many of the quakes, production is being reduced by 80%.
A decision to further cut the gas supplies was made in June which will cost the cabinet hundreds of millions of euros in lost revenue.
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