It’s colourless, odourless and tasteless but high levels of this gas can increase the risk of cancer – and it occurs naturally in the land.

Public health officials say every building contains radon and levels are usually low, but there are hotspots across the country, caused by the type of ground buildings were constructed on.

An interactive map, provided by the UK Health Security Agency, can tell you whether you live in, or near, an area affected by high levels of radon gas.

The darker the colour, the greater the chance of a higher level of gas. The risk is less than one home in a hundred in the white areas and greater than one in three in the darkest areas.


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Yeovil Express: The UKradon map shows the maximum radon potential across Somerset. Picture: UKradonThe UKradon map shows the maximum radon potential across Somerset. Picture: UKradon

What is radon gas?

Radon is formed by the radioactive decay of the small amounts of uranium found naturally in all rocks and soils. This means it is everywhere.

The radiation emitted can increase the risk of cancer

Is radon gas dangerous and am I at risk?

According to UKradon, radon produces a radioactive dust in the air that we breathe.

The dust traps in our airways and emits radiation that damages the inside of our lungs. This damage, like the damage caused by smoking, increases our risk of lung cancer.

The higher the radon and the longer the exposure, the greater the risk.

To reduce risk, UKradon suggests you find out if you live in a radon-risk area and if you do, measure your home. If the radon is high, reduce it and if you smoke, give up.

How Somerset is impacted by radon gas

It appears those living in rural areas are generally surrounded by higher levels of the gas than more urban areas such as London.

However, given that statement, Somerset doesn't actually fare too badly, particularly when viewed next to Devon and Cornwall's results.

According to the map, the Taunton area is largely ranked as having less that 1% maximum radon potential. In and around Creech St Michael it does rise to the 1-3% maximum radon potential bracket though.

Minehead also falls into the second category but head further along the coast and Porlock is in the 3-5% maximum radon potential category, with parts of Brendon Hills and Dulverton as much as 10-30%.

Heading north into Sedgemoor, it is again pretty patchy with parts coloured yellow for 1-3%, light orange for 3-5% and darker orange for 10-30%.

Dark brown patches speckle parts of the levels, Mendip Hills and North Somerset meaning a maximum radon potential greater than 30%.

Most areas in South Somerset fall into categories below 5%, although Chard does make it into the higher 10-30% group.

How to check radon in your area

If you are concerned about the radon risk in your area, you can purchase a Radon Risk Report for £3.90 from the UK Government website, telling you if your home is in a radon affected area.

If it is, it’s recommended radon concentration in your home is measured. You will be posted two detectors to place in your home one in the living area and one in an occupied bedroom.

After three months you post the detectors back for them to be analysed. The results are then posted back to you. This will cost £52.80 and can be ordered through this link.

You can find out more about testing and view the interactive map via the UKradon website.