The radon map produced by the Health Protection Agency (HPA, now part of Public Health England) and the British Geological Survey (BGS) is a way of identifying areas of the country that are predicted to have the highest number of properties affected by elevated levels of radon gas.
The radon map for England and Wales can be downloaded here, and there is a separate map available for Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The England & Wales map was last updated in 2007 and has been created using a combination of geological data and results from radon monitoring carried out over the years.
The map shows different areas of the country shaded in various colours. White areas of the map are referred to as ‘lower risk’ areas and are areas where it has been predicted that less than 1% of homes will contain radon levels in excess of the Action Level, currently 200 Bq/m3.
It is important to realise that this does not mean that these areas are “radon free” or that all homes in these locations can be considered “safe from radon”. It simply means that from the information available to the authorities at the time the map was published, there is not enough evidence to suspect that more than 1% of homes will contain elevated levels of radon.
In line with advice from The Radon Council (the independent self-regulatory body for the UK radon industry), propertECO encourage all homeowners that ‘To Test Is Best’; radon testing is the only way to be certain that any individual property does not contain high radon levels.
“Intermediate risk” areas are those shaded in yellow, and are the parts of the country where it has been predicted that between 1% and 10% of homes will be affected by high levels of radon. Again, this does not mean that all homes in these areas will definitely have a radon problem, but it is highlighting the fact that geological data and historic test results indicate that it is likely that some homes will.
“Higher risk” areas are places that have been shaded brown on the radon maps. In these areas, the data indicates that more than 10% of homes, and in some areas more than 30% of homes are likely to be affected by high levels of radon, therefore it is more important than ever to carry out a radon test.
Many people mistakenly associate radon only with the South West of England, primarily Cornwall; it is true that radon was first discovered to be a health issue in Cornwall due to the increased incidence of lung cancer in the miners, however high radon levels have been found in properties all across the UK. Below we highlight some of the regions where radon is known to be a particular issue.
The South West and Wales
Radon awareness in the South West of England is fairly high as it has been recognised as a problem for many years. The radon maps predict that over 10% of properties in almost all of Cornwall and much of Devon will be affected by high levels of radon. The areas surrounding Penzance, Helston, Redruth, Camborne, St Austell and Bodmin are all “higher risk” areas where more than 30% of properties are estimated to be affected by radon.
Many parts of Somerset and Dorset are also classified as intermediate or higher risk areas, including Portland, Bristol and Bath.
The South East
Contrary to popular belief, radon does affect properties in the South East. The South Coast is largely classified as ‘intermediate risk’ with areas such as Bognor Regis, Brighton and Worthing shaded yellow on the radon map.
propertECO have carried out several radon mitigation jobs in central London where, although the radon map shows ‘lower risk’, a significant number of properties have basements which increase their radon risk considerably (see our article here for further information on radon in basements).
The Home Counties also include many areas classified as intermediate or higher risk, in particular Oxfordshire.
Parts of the Midlands are classed as ‘higher risk’ radon areas, including areas such as Northampton, Kettering and Stamford.
The North West & North East
The radon maps for the North West and North East of England show a wide variety in the estimated risk of properties being affected by radon. Areas including Berwick upon Tweed, Richmond, Buxton, and Harrogate are all classified as ‘higher risk’.
Regardless of where you live or work, every building has the potential for containing elevated levels of radon gas. The levels depend on a variety of factors including geological characteristics of the ground underneath buildings, details of construction and the habits of the occupants which is why there is such disparity throughout the country. Two buildings next door to each other can even have widely different radon levels.
The radon map is an indicative guide to places where you may be more likely to find a number of buildings with high levels of radon, but it is in no way definitive and does not reveal how high the radon levels might be. Investing in a radon testing kit from PropertECO allows you to keep a track on the levels in your home and make reasonable adjustments. For more information on our kits call us today on 0800 046 6193 or get in touch online and we’ll find the radon solutions for you.