Results of Zuidlaren investigations published

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Today Witteveen+Bos announced the results of the investigations into the damage caused by the earthquake in Zuidlaren on 23 December 2016, and informed residents about them. In some of the dwellings where damage was reported the earthquake may have played a role in the occurrence of the damage. The client for the study, oil and gas company NAM, has now indicated that they want to set up an independent committee to advise on compensation to be offered to residents.

All dwellings inspected

On 23 December 2016 an earthquake measuring 2.4 on the Richter scale took place in Zuidlaren. Following this earthquake, 358 damage reports were submitted. NAM subsequently asked Witteveen+Bos to investigate the damage cases. All dwellings have since been inspected and the assessment has been completed for 350 dwellings.

One third of the addresses

The outcome of the study is that for all damage investigated a structural cause has been identified. At about one third of the addresses in question, it is possible that the earthquake played a role in the occurrence of some of the damage. This concerns addresses that are located within a 2.7 kilometre radius of the earthquake’s epicentre.

Earthquake caused a ‘minor hit’

Because of the relatively low intensity of the earthquake, the extent of the damage (i.e. mainly light to very light) and the method of investigation, among other things, the degree to which the earthquake played a role cannot be determined in full. It is possible that the earthquake had a knock-on effect in these dwellings if due to deformations tension was already present in a wall or facade without an actual tear having developed yet. In such cases the ‘minor hit’ of the earthquake can cause a small crack to develop, or to become worse.

Committee set up by NAM

NAM now wants to distance itself from the establishment of a solution that will be acceptable to residents. In NAM’s opinion, an independent committee will be able to determine the scale and form of the compensation to be awarded. NAM will subsequently follow the committee’s advice. The oil and gas company will soon present its proposal to deploy an independent committee to the municipal authority of Tynaarlo and the province of Drenthe. With this approach, NAM is hoping to take the next step in ensuring that the entire damage handling (assessment, evaluation and settlement) will occur independently. The set-up of a committee can be regarded as a pilot in this respect.