Environmental Permitting

What is Radon?

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas found in the air we breathe. We have always received doses of radiation from it and always will. Radon comes from uranium, which is present to a small extent in all soils and rocks. It seeps out of the ground and can collect in enclosed spaces such as workplaces and homes. Because some ground types allow air to move more freely than others do and the amount of uranium in the ground varies from place to place; radon levels are higher in some parts of the country than other.

Why is it considered Dangerous?

Radon decays to form tiny radioactive particles, which can be breathed in to the lungs. These particles contain radiation, which can cause lung cancer, which may take years to develop. In addition, smoking and exposure to radon are known to work together in greatly increasing the risk of developing lung cancer.

What areas are affected?

The majority of Great Britain do not have significant radon levels. However, it has been shown that premises built on certain types of ground found mostly in Cornwall and Devon, but also in some parts of Derbyshire, Northamptonshire, Somerset, Grampian and the Highlands of Scotland, are more likely to have high indoor radon levels.

Can I be affected?

Generally radon is only a concern in a building or confined space where there is less ventilation than in the open air.  The construction of a building in an important factor because radon seeps up from the ground and is drawn into buildings through cracks in the floors and gaps around the pipes, cables drains etc.

Where can I get more advice?

Further information and advice can be found on the Public Health England (PHE) website:

view PHE website

email: radon@phe.org.uk


Last updated 04/05/2016