Last week UKHSA held the 19th national radon forum, during which it was announced that the UK radon map (https://www.ukradon.org/) is due an update next month.
What is radon?
Radon is a tasteless, colourless, odourless gas that is a leading cause of lung cancer in the UK. More information regarding radon and its effects can be found at:
What is the UK radon map?
The UK radon map is an indicative map that gives the probability that a house built in a given area will exceed the national radon action limit of 200 Bqm-3. The map is available in 1km squares for free online and a higher resolution, individual address search is available for £3.90 from the UKHSA.
“Basic” radon protection (generally consisting of a radon barrier) is advised on new builds in areas where >3% of buildings are expected to above the radon action limit in England and Wales and >1% in Scotland. “Full” radon protection (generally a radon barrier and sump or subfloor venting system) is required in new builds where >10% of homes are expected to be above the radon action limit.
How is the UK radon map generated?
The map is generated by mixing two sources – UKHSA data consisting of radon measurements in homes and British Geological Survey of the geology underlying the UK.
The geology is grouped into “types” and monitoring data is used to classify the risk of radon from each type, with a minimum of 100 different monitoring results per type. A 50m geological buffer and a 25m housing size buffer is then applied to the higher risk areas to account for the size of housing and geological inaccuracies to make up the final radon map.
The upcoming radon map is being updated via:
- An increase in the amount of measurements of radon concentrations in homes.
- Much more accurate and in depth geological data.
- A decrease from 100 to 30 required monitoring results for each geological type to include it as an individual area in the map.
- The removal of the 50m geological buffer.
What should I do?
If you’re a housing constructor:
Remember to assess whether your sites are in radon affected areas, if they are, integrate appropriate protection measures.
If you’re a homeowner:
Check if your home is in a radon affected area, if it is, order a radon pack from https://www.ukradon.org/services/orderdomestic and follow their instructions.
If you’re an employer:
If your business has buildings in a radon affected area, order radon tests from https://www.ukradon.org/services/orderworkplace . Information on the numbers of detectors needed can be found at https://www.ukradon.org/information/workplace . Alternatively approach a professional radon testing service.