Research and analysis

Radon: targeted survey of Scottish homes

This report (HPA-CRCE-042) details a programme to identify homes with high radon concentrations in Scotland.

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Detail

This report details a programme, supported by funding from the Scottish Government, to identify homes with significantly elevated radon concentrations in the areas of Scotland with the greatest risk of high radon levels and, where high levels are found, to encourage the responsible person, normally the owner-occupier or landlord, to carry out remedial works. The three-year programme commenced in April 2009 and was initially based on the radon maps published at that time. An updated and more detailed radon map was published in July 2011 and the programme was modified to accommodate this.

The programme operated in the following Scottish Regions, listed in descending order of the number of households:

  • Aberdeenshire, including a very small number of homes in Moray
  • the Orkney Islands
  • Highland
  • the Scottish Borders
  • the Shetland Islands
  • Dumfries
  • Galloway

In each region, following an initial meeting with representatives of the local council to secure local partnerships, householders in the highest risk areas were contacted by letter and offered a free radon test. Householders accepting the offer were sent measurement kits, again by post and, in due course, received a report detailing the results and advising whether action to reduce radon levels was recommended. Householders found to have high radon levels were invited to local events to discuss the health risks and the effective ways in which to reduce the radon levels in their homes. Local seminars were held for professionals involved in housing provision. Typically, this included:

  • officers of the local council and housing associations
  • solicitors
  • estate agents
  • surveyors
  • builders

In most areas, the programme was run as a partnership between the local Council, Health Board, the Building Research Establishment and the Health Protection Agency. In round terms, over:

  • 12,000 householders were invited to participate
  • 6,000 took up the offer
  • 1,000 homes were identified above the UK radon Action Level of 200 Bq m-3

Over 20 days of local events were held which included some 10 seminars and over 600 householders attended a radon advice session. In the course of the programme, press releases and media interviews were completed involving both local partners and HPA staff.