HL Deb 13 May 1992 vol 537 c7WA
Viscount Davidson

asked Her Majesty's Government:

When the results of the surveys of radon in homes in England will be published, and what new information they provide.

Lord Strathclyde

The National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) has today published a reportRadon in Dwellings in England, summarising the results of the radon surveys that it has carried out in England, principally under contract to the Department of the Environment, up to the end of 1991.

Copies have been placed in the Library, and have been distributed to local authorities in the areas most affected.

We welcome the report, which shows how far we have already progressed towards the target set in a recommendation of the report on Indoor Pollution by the Select Committee for the Environment in another place during the last Parliament. The recommendation, which was accepted in principle, was that we should commit ourselves to ensuring the identification of the majority of homes above the radon action level by the year 2000.

NRPB now has valid measurements for the radon levels in about 92,000 homes, which are presented in summary form in the report. About 12,000 results are above the Government's action level. All householders have been informed in confidence of their individual results. They have received copies of the Department of the Environment's booklet, The Householder's Guide to Radon, which explains how radon concentrations in homes may be reduced quite simply, and gives addresses and telephone numbers to contact for further help. We advise everyone who knows that the radon level is above the action level to take remedial action to reduce the risks of long-term exposure. We urge them to do so, if they have not already taken action.

The largest proportion of measurements were made in response to the Government's publicity campaign in Cornwall and Devon, and over 11,000 of the homes that exceed the action level are in those counties. Measurements are thus concentrated in the areas where indoor radon levels are known to be high, and do not reflect the overall national picture. The pattern of results is in good agreement with the predictions of the NRPB that about 100,000 homes in the UK will have elevated radon levels, with the majority, about 60,000, in Cornwall and Devon.