The damage caused by gas extraction in Groningen is not limited to houses, people and relationships have also been affected. This is evident from the new report Inzicht in Impact (Insight into Impact), published by Kennisplatform Leefbaar en Kansrijk Groningen (Knowledge Platform Liveable and Promising Groningen) on 28 June. The report provides a overview of the consequences of gas production for residents and society and is based on insights from over 250 publications. The overview has been presented to the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations.
The societal impact of gas extraction is enormous. Efforts to tackle the problem have grown enormously in recent times, but the problem isn't solved yet. The situation remains complicated and incomprehensible to residents and professionals alike. The administrative rules change too often, residents' trust in involved agencies is low and some residents still struggle with health problems. It will, according to the platform, take at least another 10 to 20 years to fix the existing problems.
To understand what ‘recovery’ means in Groningen, Kennisplatform Leefbaar en Kansrijk Groningen makes a distinction between material, procedural and relational recovery. Involved agencies seem to focus primarily on the material restoration of physical damage and safety. "But," observes Sanne Hupkes, project researcher, "it is too short-sighted to expect that compensation for material and immaterial damage will automatically lead to restoration of relationships and trust. The relationships between citizens and government as well as the relationships between governments have been seriously damaged."
In order to restore trust, existing knowledge about the social dimension of the problem must be better utilized. In addition, residents and communities must have a greater say in the approach to the gas extraction issue. They are currently too much on the sidelines. Authorities indicate that they want to put the residents first, but in the approach, the focus is mainly on technical knowledge.
The study can be downloaded from the website of the Kennisplatform Leefbaar en Kansrijk Groningen and will soon be available in libraries in the region.
The Kennisplatform Leefbaar en Kansrijk Groningen was established by the University of Groningen, Hanzehogeschool Groningen, CMO-STAMM/Sociaal Planbureau Groningen and GGD Groningen. The platform is based at the Faculty of Behavioral and Social Sciences of the University of Groningen.
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