Groningen quake damage needs independent assessor, MPs say

A condemned and shored-up cafe. Photo: Graham Dockery
A condemned and shored-up cafe. Photo: Graham Dockery

A majority of MPs say responsibility for deciding how home owners in Groningen are compensated for earthquake damage should be taken away from gas drilling firm NAM.

At the moment NAM, a 50:50 joint venture between Shell and ExxonMobil decides how much compensation should be paid via a special unit called Centrum Veilig Wonen.

‘NAM has its own handbook on earthquakes, its own protocol for registering damage and drew up its own list of types of damage. It’s madness,’ Socialist MP Eric Smaling told website

Labour and Christian Democrat MPs have also called for change. ‘If you have caused damage, you have a vested interest in keeping the bill low,’ Labour MP Jan Vos told broadcaster NOS. ‘That is why the assessor should be independent.

Economic affairs minister Henk Kamp has already said he is prepared to make changes in the current set up. MPs are due to debate the situation with Kamp later on Wednesday.

Research by Groningen University suggests 100,000 people live in homes which have been damaged by the quakes, caused by the ground settling after the gas has been removed.

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