The naturally occurring radioactive gas radon, arises from the decay of natural elements in rock and soil. It enters houses from the ground. Exposure to radon varies across the UK. Levels indoors depend on a number of factors:
- the concentration of radon in the ground
- the way a house is constructed
- 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 common.
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 is in 1km square grids with over half a million radon measurements covering the whole of the UK.
How do I get radon levels measured?
The UK Radon website and the 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 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.
Environmental Health team
If you have an enquiry about environmental health, send a message to the Environmental Health team