HC Deb 10 July 2000 vol 353 cc405-6W
Mrs. Golding

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what assistance his Department is giving to householders and local authorities in areas where the radioactive gas radon is a problem. [130214]

Mr. Meacher

Following the success of three pilot studies to encourage and assist householders to carry out radon remedial works, I am pleased to announce that we are embarking on a new programme in partnership with 31 local authorities from the areas most affected by radon.

The radon measurement programme, carried out by successive Governments since 1987, has meant that every home in England with a greater than 5 per cent. probability of being above the radon 'Action Level' has been offered a Government-funded radon test. In total, some 40,000 homes have now been found to be above the radon Action Level. However, only 10–20 per cent. of these households have taken any action to reduce radon levels in their homes. Radon is a naturally occurring, radioactive gas. Without proper action to lower levels in the home it can add to the risk of lung cancer.

To encourage action, DETR, with the support of the Department of Health, has been working in partnership with Derbyshire Dales, Cherwell and Mendip district councils in pilot studies to encourage and assist householders to carry out remedial work. In this new approach the local authority has been the main point of contact with householders, supported in the background by Central Government Departments.

The pilot studies have been very successful both in terms of the numbers of householders seeking advice and the numbers that have subsequently gone on to carry out remedial work. I should like to pay tribute to the enthusiasm, commitment and hard work of the three local authorities involved.

The 31 local authorities listed in the table, which all have areas within their districts with notable levels of radon, responded to the Department's invitation to work in partnership with us to extend the approach used in the pilot studies to other parts of the country.

In order to assist these authorities, and other with a radon problem, we have produced a "Good Practice Guide" based on the lessons learned and the experience gained in the pilot studies. This guidance has been made available in draft to all of the authorities involved in the new programme, and is being published today. I have arranged for copies to be deposited in the Libraries of both Houses.

Local authorities participating in DETR's Radon roll-out programme


  • West Devon borough council
  • South Hams district council
  • Torbay district council


  • South Somerset district council
  • Bath and North East Somerset Unitary Authority


  • North Dorset district council


  • South Gloucestershire Unitary Authority
  • Stroud district council


  • Kettering borough council
  • Daventry district council
  • East Northamptonshire district council
  • Corby borough council
  • Northampton borough council
  • South Northamptonshire district council


  • Harborough district council
  • Melton borough council
  • Rutland Unitary Authority


  • Huntingdonshire district council


  • South Kesteven district council
  • North Kesteven district council


  • South Shropshire district council
  • Oswestry borough council


  • High Peak borough council


  • Ashfield district council


  • Staffordshire Moorlands district council


  • South Lakeland district council


  • Lancaster City council

North Yorkshire

  • Craven district council
  • Richmondshire district council


  • Alnwick district council
  • Berwick-upon-Tweed borough council