The natural radioactive gas radon enters houses from the ground underneath, where it is formed from the uranium which is found in all rocks and soils. Radon levels indoors depend on the concentration of radon in the ground, details of construction of the house, and the way the house is heated and ventilated. Levels can vary widely between apparently identical houses; the only way to find out whether there is a high level in a particular house is to measure it.
Long term exposure to high levels of the gas has been found to cause lung cancer, especially by those people who smoke where radon is found to be more prevalent. In fact, it is the second major cause of lung cancer, second only to smoking.
Radon affected areas in Basingstoke
Radon affected areas are parts of the country where 1% or more of properties are estimated to be above the UK radon action level of 200 becquerels per cubic metre of air. The Health Protection Agency (HPA) declares radon affected areas and publishes maps of them on behalf of the Government.
A Radon Atlas of England and Wales can be viewed by clicking here. The map supersedes the Radon Map of 2002. The new map is more detailed (now 1km square grids and not 5km square grids) and is based on more data – over half a million radon measurements covering the whole of the UK.
How do I get radon levels measured?
The UK Radon website and its indicative atlas can tell you the estimated probability that a particular property is above the Action Level for radon, but the only way to find out whether it is in fact above or below the Action Level is to carry out a radon measurement
The Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) are legally enforceable regulations that govern the public's right to access environmental information held by public authorities including local authorities. Environmental information covered by the regulations includes the state of the air, atmosphere, water, soil, land, landscape, as well as factors affecting the above elements such as substances, energy, noise, radiation or waste, emissions, discharges into the environment.
The Environment Agency maintains a Public Register of sites licensed to keep radioactive substances. A copy of this register is available to view at the Civic Offices during normal working hours.
Nuclear sites and other industries can create radioactive waste as a result of their routine operations. Some of the wastes are released into the air or discharged to water, the radioactivity can enter the environment and access the food chain. The releases and discharges are controlled by authorisations issued by the Environment Agency. The Environment Agency (EA) and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) separately monitor levels of radioactivity in the environment and food chain. This monitoring enables the EA and FSA to ensure that radiation exposure from food and the environment are within the legal limits. Further information on the monitoring and the results can be obtained from the Food Standards Agency website - click HERE.