The researchers, Prof. Dr. Katherine Strobe and Prof. Dr. Michael Dockers from the University of Groningen, conclude that the indirect consequences of gas extraction, such as actions and solutions to the problem, as a stress factor, do not appear to be inferior to earthquakes and damage.
Two plate measurements
How does the perceived safety, confidence and health of Groningen residents develop in the earthquake zone? What is the effect of reinforcement on this? And are the consequences, solutions, and indirect actions of damages and reinforcements as severe as “disease”, such as earthquakes and damage to homes? These were the questions that were central to the measurements of the two plates for Gronings Perspectief’s long-term research project in 2021.
A decline in health and the population’s confidence in harm
In April and October 2021 there will be a significant deterioration in the health of the (multiple) affected population compared to previous years. Multiple affected populations in particular suffer greater health damage. Trust in the central government is declining. Stroybe: ‘In 2020, we’ve already seen an increase in health, even for residents with multiple damages. This is now changing. Why don’t we know exactly. I think the problem does not give way to optimism at the moment: there is talk of a slow-moving boosting process, the risk of increased gas extraction, and many new rules and procedures. Many residents lack the prospect that things will improve soon.
Reinforcement as stress
Residents whose homes have been reinforced are more at risk: they have poor health and feel less safe than those who have not been affected by reinforcements. Additional analyzes show that it is important to determine which stage of reinforcement the population is in: as the population enters the stage between assessment and planning, their health declines and they feel less safe. There will be some recovery once construction is complete, but it is unclear if that will last.
“Improving health and safety is not reflected in the analysis”
Stroebe: If the reinforcement is supposed to improve health and safety, this is not reflected in the analysis. It appears to be so, although additional analytics are needed. It is clear from the present analyzes that attention is in no way required for evaluators who are in the phase between assessment and planning. This is not fine.
Indirect consequences of gas extraction
The current research unequivocally confirms that troubles with the authorities and procedures that the population faces due to the problem of gas extraction have a negative impact on health, sense of safety and confidence. When reinforcement must be a solution to a problem, it turns out to be a stressor. The residents themselves also point out that the indirect consequences (slow and unfair actions, long-term uncertainty) make them vulnerable to the problem of gas extraction. Stroibe: ‘Our previous studies show that dealing with the authorities and procedures is very stressful. We support this in this report. This means that the solutions provided may be nearly as bad as the original disease, earthquake, and damage.
About Groningen’s Perspective
Gronings Perspectief is a collaboration between the University of Groningen and the Groningen Social Planning Office. It is chaired by Prof. Dr. Stroybe and Prof. Dr. Dockers. The research team is assisted by a supervisory committee comprising the Municipalities, the GGD, Groninger Bodem Beweging, Groninger Gasberaad, the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, the Groningen National Coordinator, the County of Groningen, the Groningen Security Zone, the Groningen Village Association and scientific experts.
The Groningers board periodically fills out a safety survey
The Gronings Perspectief team has conducted research on the health, sense of safety and future prospects of residents of all municipalities in the gas producing region since 2016, since 2021 with support from the Ministry of Interior and Kingdom Relations. Previously, the research was funded by the Groningen National Coordinator. A panel from Groningen periodically fills out a questionnaire about safety, health and future prospects. All results of Gronings Perspectief are published on groningsperspective.nl
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