Radon can occur in any region of the UK but the most prominent areas to find high levels of radon gas are in Wales and the South West of England according to the UK Health Security Agency (formerly PHE) map. Other areas that are particularly vulnerable to high levels of radon are in Northumberland, Cumbria as well as areas in Gloucestershire and Derbyshire.
In this guide, we will cover what is defined as a high radon level? why areas are more prone than others to high levels of radon as well as what mitigation methods can be done to reduce radon in those areas?
History of Radon Gas Map
The information is from the interactive map from www.ukradon.org, the radon website from the UK Health Security Agency.
The radon gas map was first produced in 1990 by the National Radiological Protection Board (now part of the UK Health Security Agency). This was primarily focused on Cornwall.
The data was taken from radon monitoring which was carried out at properties which were combined with geological data from BGS (British Geological Survey). This predicted the most potential for areas that could be affected by high levels of radon.
The radon maps have since then extended to the whole of the UK and more and more tests have been implemented. The most recent update of the maps shows that there are significant portions of the UK could be potentially affected by radon.
What Does The UK Radon Map Tell Us?
So, what does the radon gas map show us? As you can see from the radon map it is colour coded and it shows from white, to yellow and then brown. The darkest colour is defined as where the properties in the area are at greater risk of high levels of radon.
PHE determine that the white, yellow and brown coloured areas highlighted from the radon map as lower risk, intermediate risk and higher risk.
This has been misconceived that property owners that are living or working in lower risk areas are safe. However, this is not the case, the property can not be considered safe from radon unless you have had testing carried out.
What is Defined as a High Radon Level?
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that enters properties from the ground. The areas of the country that are shaded in the darkest shade of brown on the radon map are where there is a greater than 30% chance of having radon the lighter the colour on the map the less chance you could be exposed to radon.
Inhaling radon in the open air is not something you should be worried about as this is not a health risk. However, when radon gas finds its way into a property through then this is where there are potential health risks.
Radon is measured in Becquerels and the target level for a property is to be below 100 Becquerels. The reason why certain areas have chances of having high radon levels is down to the geology of the area. An example of this is the South West which has large amounts of granite.
Should I Test my Property for Radon?
You may think that if you look at the radon map and you see that you are living in one of the areas where the radon potential is low that your property is safe from radon. This is not the case. It is impossible to know if you are living in a radon affected area without first having a radon test carried out. You can purchase a radon test kit online from our very own Radon Shop.
Dependent upon the degree of urgency required in needing to know test results we have two test kits available: 3 month test kit or 10 day radon test kit. A 10 day radon detector is usually purchased if you are looking to sell or buy a house where a speedy turnaround is required. A 3 month radon detector can provide more accurate results as it is over a longer period of time.
It is usually common for a household to purchase a kit with 2 radon detectors but this is dependent on the type of property you own e.g. a terraced house or a commercial business building. It is important that you place one radon detector in the living room and the other in the bedroom of the property. You can find out more on our guide on where to place radon detectors?
These will then need to be left there for a period of time dependent on which type of test kit you have purchased. Once the time period has passed these will need to be sent back to a radon laboratory which will send you back the results. If the property has high levels of radon then steps will need to be taken to reduce the radon levels in the building.
Can High Radon Levels be Reduced?
High radon levels can be a problem for any property owner, and they can be reduced by a number of different methods. One question that is often asked by our customers is “how much does radon mitigation cost?” This is dependent on a variety of factors including: what type of property you live in and how high the radon levels are. It is always best to contact a specialist who can offer you the best solution for you and your property.
The two main types of radon mitigation systems that are used involve either the installation of a radon sump or a positive pressure ventilation system. The radon sump aims to vent the radon gas out of the property while the positive pressure system draws in clean air and dilutes the level of radon around the house.
Why Should you Take Action Against Radon?
It is often misconceived that the only area affected by radon in the UK is the South West but by looking at the radon map from Public Health England we can see that there are a number of other areas affected by radon. Remember, no area is totally safe from radon and the only way to find out is to carry out a test.
Radon is the second largest cause of lung cancer in the UK and no matter where you are in the country, whether it is known to be a high risk or low risk radon affected area, it is always best to test and protect yourself from radon as soon as possible. There are a couple of measures you can undertake by yourself to reduce the radon gas at your property such as:
- Opening windows and doors on a regular basis to allow fresh air in and out of the property
- Check for cracks or holes in the basement of the property (if there is one) and make sure these are sealed up.
As we have already mentioned radon is a problem that is occurring across the UK and the radon map highlights this. It is best to carry out testing as soon as you can to prevent any potential health issues in the future. You can contact our specialist team at PropertECO for free expert advice about the radon map or if you would like to purchase a radon test kit online then our team will be happy to help.