Quake-hit homes in Groningen may get independent assessment

groningen earthquake damageHome owners in Groningen who feel earthquake damage to their property has not been properly assessed should be able to call in an independent ‘judge’ for a binding ruling, a government official said on Wednesday.

The introduction of a final adjudicator is one of a package of measures suggested by Hans Alders, charged by the government with dealing with earthquake damage and making sure the province’s more vulnerable buildings are reinforced.

Alders says the decision of the adjudicator would be ‘almost always’ binding on gas extraction company Nam. As a final resort, home owners would be able to go to court, broadcaster Nos says.

Thousands of homes and other buildings in Groningen have been damaged by earthquakes caused by the ground settling after the extraction of natural gas.

According to some estimates, up to 40,000 properties need reinforcing.

Alders’ plan says 1,650 rental homes need to be made safer from January next year, as should six out of 10 schools.

Alders’ plan will be finalised by the end of November before being sent to 12 local authority areas which have been worst affected for their comments, as well as Groningen provincial council and the Dutch cabinet.

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