Gjerdrum landslide: Municipality charged due to potential lack of follow-up warnings

Gjerdrum landslidePhoto: Stian Lysberg Solum / NTB
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The Eastern Police District has charged Gjerdrum Municipality in relation to the quick clay landslide that happened in 2020. The background for the charges is the lack of potential follow-up warnings from the Municipality.

“Through its investigation, the police have not found grounds to charge any individuals or companies with having caused the landslide in Gjerdrum. The indictment deals with the lack of follow-up on the part of the Municipality when it comes to warnings. The charge does not claim that the Municipality has actively caused any landslides or that there have been errors in development planning or planning processes,” the Eastern Police District wrote in a press release.

Decision pending

The public prosecutor will now decide whether the circumstances described in the indictment will result in punishment.

“We are now awaiting the public prosecutor’s decision and have no further comments on the content of the charges,” police attorney Morten Lundén in the Eastern Police District stated.

Since January 2021, the police have carried out a investigation into the landslide in Gjerdrum. Approximately 150 people have provided their explanations in the case, the press release states.

The police further write that Gjerdrum Municipality has participated openly in the investigation and that they have had a good collaboration.

Mayor surprised

Mayor Anders Østensen (AP) in Gjerdrum Municipality is surprised that the Municipality is being charged. He believes it is still unclear where the responsibility lies.

“It is a really difficult situation to be in. As a Municipality, the inhabitants should have confidence in us, but now we will be charged by the police in the case. It is clear that it is a bad situation to be in… We believe that the charges are not correct,” Østensen told NTB.

He believes that the authorities and the leader of the Gjerdrum Committee, Inge Ryan, argue that the actual responsibility for follow-up and remedial measures is unclear.

“We believe that the signals from the authorities do not match what the police think,” Østensen told NTB.

Lawyer Jan Fougner in Wiersholm is the Municipality’s adviser. He says that the charges came as a great surprise to the Municipality, which has not had the status of a suspect in the case, according to Fougner.

Case background

The night before Wednesday, December 30, 2020, a quick landslide took place in the center of Ask in Gjerdrum. 

Fourteen buildings with 31 residential units were affected by the landslide. Ten people died, and ten people were injured in the incident.

The government subsequently set up an expert committee to investigate the accident. An interim report presented on September 29, 2021, stated that the landslide was due to erosion in Tistilbekken, at the bottom of Nystulia.

Source : © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

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