Radon

Radon is a naturally-occurring radioactive gas. It is produced by the decay of small amounts of uranium in rocks deep underground. It can migrate through the soil and enter buildings through minute cracks in the structure.

Risks associated with radon

Expert advice is that exposure to high levels of radon over long periods can increase the risk of lung cancer. The council gives advice, and, in some cases grant aid, to help people reduce high levels of radon in their homes.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has set an 'Action Level' of 200 becquerels per cubic metre of radon in air which should not be exceeded. More information can be found on the Health Protection Agency website

 

South Somerset information

You can see our radon leaflet for further information.

Also, for a small fee, you can get information about likely results in any postcode area (including South Somerset) by going to the national  UK radon website

 

I am thinking of buying a house, is there a quick way to find out what the radon levels are in it?

Not usually. You can ask the vendor if the property has ever been tested and, if so, what the result was. If not, then there is no quick test which will give you a reliable result.

However, for a small fee, you can get basic information about likely results in any postcode area by going to the  UK radon website.

 

Are the results of tests ever published?

Not for individual properties or roads. Average results are produced by the HPA for ten-kilometre grid squares and are used for deciding what precautions are needed against radon in new buildings.
 

What can I do if radon in my house is above the Action Level?

There are several ways of reducing levels of radon. These usually involve increasing ventilation below floors or providing under-floor sumps to collect the gas and vent it safely to the external air.
 

How do I find out what level of radon is present in my house?

You can find out by going to the Health Protection Agency website.

For a fee (currently £49.80) they will send you a radon testing kit, which is essentially two small pieces of plastic. These should be left, one in the living room and the other in a bedroom, for three months. The kit is then returned to the HPA for analysis and the results, showing the level of radon in your house, are returned to you in complete confidence.

 

Can I get a grant to help pay for any necessary works?

Possibly. If your house is affected by radon above the Action Level of 200 becquerels per cubic metre, then, subject to budget, a Home Repair Assistance Grant may be available. This is for private homeowners over the age of 18 who are in receipt of one of the following benefits:

  • income support
  • income-related employment and support allowance
  • income-based jobseeker's allowance
  • working tax credit with an income of less than £16040
  • housing benefit
  • council tax benefit
  • disabled person's tax credit