Saturday 01 April 2023

Talks on repairing homes damaged by Groningen earthquakes stall

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

Discussions between economic affairs minister Eric Wiebes and the authorities in Groningen about earthquake damages caused by gas extraction in  the northern province have stalled, broadcaster RTL Nieuws reported on Wednesday.

There is disagreement about the strengthening of 1,588 houses in the region which were damaged by years of earthquakes. Representatives of Groningen provincial authority, 10 local authorities and two action groups have now broken off talks with the minister.

The homeowners will have to wait until a decision is made on whether strengthening is really required now that gas extraction has been slowed.

Wiebes said a decision will be made once his ministry ascertains the level of gas extraction in the future, a situation which has changed now that production has been cut back drastically.

René Paas, king’s commissioner in Groningen, said the delay in decision-making was bad for confidence in the government if residents have to wait very long for promises to be fulfilled.

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