In November 2014, eighteen thousand households across Gloucestershire were offered a free radon test as part of a campaign driven by Public Health England (PHE).
Letters were sent to households in areas covered by Cotswold District Council, Forest of Dean District Council and Cheltenham Borough Council inviting the householders to apply for a free test kit.
By mid-December, PHE reported having received responses from over 4000 householders. This represents roughly 25% response rate from the Cotswold and Cheltenham areas and over 21% from Forest of Dean.
UK Radon Association encourages all those who have been offered this free test to take up the offer, as testing is the only way to know whether or not a home is affected by harmful levels of radon. A test for a standard-sized property will usually cost in the region of £40 – £50, so you are saving money whilst also carrying out an important safety check on your home.
If you’ve been offered a free test but have concerns about the implications of taking the test, the process or the results here are some facts that may help you decide:
- You have been offered the test because your home has been identified as being located in an area of higher risk of elevated indoor radon concentrations. Even in these areas, the majority of homes contain low levels of radon, but the only way to confirm this is by testing.
- The results of the radon test are confidential. The test results are sent only to you (the householder) and are not publicly available on any database or website. Postcode-level data is used to assist in creating predictive maps, but this does not identify individual properties.
- Testing for radon is very simple. You will be sent two small plastic detectors which simply need to be removed from the outer packaging and placed in the test locations (e.g. a bedside table in the master bedroom and a bookshelf in the living room). After three months, they should be posted back for analysis. It’s that easy!
- A radon test report is a benefit when it comes to selling a house. If you have been offered a free test kit, your property is situated in a designated ‘radon affected area’. This statement will be included in the information that a potential buyer’s solicitor and surveyor supplies. It is likely that the buyer will then ask for a radon test to be carried out, so if you have already done this you are in a stronger position than a vendor who hasn’t, and can save time. If the test results show that work to reduce high levels is recommended, you can carry this out before putting the house on the market so buyers will be reassured that there is nothing to worry about.
- If high levels of radon are identified, remedial works will be recommended. The cost of these works will depend upon the radon levels found, size and layout of the property and construction type. Remedial works will typically cost between £800 – £2000 (including VAT). Some types of radon remediation systems can also bring additional benefits to a building, such as the elimination of condensation and reduction of allergens.
If you do not live in one of the above areas but wish to carry out a radon test in your home, radon test kits are available from UK Radon Association members listed here.