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What is Radon Gas?

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas found in the ground. Radon can be found everywhere, though some parts of the country, in particular, are more likely to have higher exposure levels than others.

Exposure to Radon gas can increase the risk of health issues, but there are ways to both detect Radon gas, and put into place protective measures.

How can I find out about Radon levels in my property?

If there are high levels of Radon in the surrounding area, and you want to see if your property is at risk, detectors can be placed in two areas of your home for a period of 3 months. The detectors are then sent back to the provider who will analyse the results. The provider will advise of any suitable remedial methods should the levels be high.

Action Levels

The Government advises that remedial action should be taken where any residential property has an average annual Radon level of 200 Bq/m3 or more. This is referred to as the ‘Action Level’.

Some areas, including Northamptonshire, naturally have higher levels of Radon present. If Radon levels are found to be above an acceptable level, remedial action such as Radon sumps, and positive ventilation can help. Further information regarding the remedial methods can be found here –

Purchasing a Property

When you are purchasing a property, pre-exchange searches will reveal if the area is known to have high levels of Radon gas.

If this is of concern, further tests can be carried out as explained above. A buyer may wish to ask the seller for a financial retention pending the result of the tests to enable the transaction to proceed in the meantime.

A retention is a sum of money held back from the purchase price and is designed to cover part or all of the costs of remedial action, should this be required as a result of the test. The terms of the retention and the ultimate responsibility for the cost of the works will depend upon what is agreed between the parties.

Building Regulations and Radon Gas

Radon Gas preventative measures became part of Building Regulation approval from the late 1980’s to the late 1990’s depending upon the area.

The Regulations require ‘basic’ Radon protection to be installed in new properties located in areas where it is estimated that 3% or more properties will be affected by high levels of Radon. Basic Radon protection involves the installation of a gas-tight barrier (Radon membrane) across the development.

In areas where it is estimated that 10% or more properties will be affected by high levels of Radon, ‘full’ protection is required. This involves the installation of a barrier plus either a ventilated subfloor void or the provision of a ‘standby sump’ which can be capped off and activated at a later date if required.

These Radon preventative measures, which are now compulsory under Building Regulations for new properties, now assist in reducing the concentration of Radon gas.

For further information on radon, click here

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Daniella Afonso


Daniella Afonso


Daniella is a member of the Residential Conveyancing Team in our Higham Ferrers office and assists in all aspects of the buying and selling process.