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Radon in the Environment

Radon is a natural radioactive gas found in soil and rocks. It has no colour, taste or smell. Levels vary from country to country, between regions and even between neighbouring houses. It is quickly diluted to the atmosphere in open spaces, but the situation can be different in the enclosure of a home. Typically, this occurs when radon moves from a region of high pressure within the soil into the marginally lower pressure in homes, brought about by such factors as wind and temperature.


High concentrations of radon are of concern because worldwide studies have linked it with lung cancer. People exposed to high levels are more prone to lung cancer and smokers are at greater risk.

UK Levels

The average level of radon in UK homes is 20 Bq/m3 (radioactive material measurement unit is the 'becquerel per cubic metre') and the Government has determined that an ACTION LEVEL of 200 Bq/m3 would necessitate action.  In July 2010 The Health Protection Agency recommended that the Action Level should be retained but that a new TARGET LEVEL of 100 Bq/m3 for radon in homes should be introduced. Householders with concentrations above the Action Level should reduce concentrations to below the Target Level if possible.  Householders with results in between the Target and Action Levels should seriously consider taking remedial action.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) oversee radon gas surveillance in the UK. They can carry out tests at the request of householders but the particular results of such tests remain confidential between the householder and the HPA. House sellers are not legally obliged to volunteer any information they have about radon tests on their properties but if you ask for it they must tell you.

Radon monitoring devices are small, simple pieces of equipment that are left in a relevant location in a building, usually for about three months, before being sent off to a lab to work out what the Radon levels are.

Radon Levels in Charnwood

  • The HPA have produced an 'Indicative' Radon map of the UK which gives a percentage number of homes within each 1km square estimated to be above the Action Level
  • Of the results known to Charnwood Borough Council up until 2004 there has been 1 result above the Action Level. Since 2004 we do not get given individual results from within the borough.
  • The average radon concentration found up until 2004 was 30 Bq/m3.
  • Most of the Borough of Charnwood lies in an area at lowest risk from radon.
  • There are a few areas in the north-west, west and south-west of the Borough and a small area covering Mountsorrel and the south of Quorn which are thought to have a small number of properties with radon gas levels above the Action level.
  • In these areas it is recommended that houses are tested for radon levels. Alternatively occupiers can apply for a risk report to be produced. This will give a more accurate idea as to whether the property could be at high risk from radon. Please refer to Radon Risk Reports and Testing for Radon below.

Summary of Published Radon Data by Postcode Area (to 2004)

Postcode Area

Total Dwellings

Dwellings Measured

Results (Bq/m3)
[Arithmetic mean]

At or above AL

LE11 3





LE12 5





LE12 6





LE12 7





LE12 8





LE12 9





LE6 0





LE7 3

Not available




LE7 7





Source: 'Radon Atlas of England and Wales, 2002'

Radon Risk Reports

A service provided by the British Geological Association allows a web-based risk assessment to be derived for any property, provided that its postcode and postal address is known. There is a small charge for this. A link to the relevant web site is included below.

Testing for Radon

The HPA has devised a safe, simple and confidential test to measure levels in the home. Two detectors are sent by post. The test equipment is easy to set up one in a living room, the other in a bedroom. These are returned to the HPA after 3 months in a pre-paid envelope.

Futher Information

For further information regarding radon visit the website or the Radon Council website

Last updated: Tue 20th January, 2015 @ 15:00

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