Knowledge agenda Soft Soil

The Midden-Holland region is characterised by unique cities, town centres and landscapes, but also by soft clay and peat layers and their associated subsidence problems. Residents and entrepreneurs are faced with sinking houses, business premises, roads, sewage systems and green areas. The impact is huge: damage to foundations and infrastructure, for example, alongside other water-related problems, is considerable and could reach up to around 22 billion euros by 2050. Platform Slappe Bodem – a collaboration aimed at tackling ‘soft soil’ – is working hard to share, deepen and develop knowledge on subsidence. To assist in this, Witteveen+Bos identified the consequences of, possible approaches to, and knowledge issues regarding subsidence – employing four knowledge areas to this end: technology, process and management, finance, and spatial planning

Platform Soft Soil

Platform Soft Soil is a collaboration for and by local and regional authorities. The collaboration has taken on the task of providing clarity regarding the knowledge issues and needs local governments have in connection with subsidence problems and soft soils. The group’s objective is to make subsidence in the Netherlands manageable by making informed medium- and long-term choices. A total of 22 municipalities, 6 water authorities and 2 provinces are participating.

Advice to municipalities

By means of interviews and quantitative data, insight was gained into the problems, causes, consequences and measures relating to subsidence in each participating municipality. Using this information, we provide advice via Platform Slappe Bodem to the participating municipalities on how they can more effectively embed the issue of subsidence in their organisations. We advised one municipality, for example, to benchmark its subsidence-related income and expenditure, such as sewage costs and management expenditure. This gives municipalities an unambiguous overview of the often unexpectedly high direct and indirect costs that subsidence, in various ways, can cause.

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