West Lothian has traditionally been considered free of Radon gas problems, but limited areas of West Lothian now carry a risk associated with Radon gas.
The release by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) in July 2011 of an Indicative Atlas of Radon in Scotland highlighted that a small number of properties in West Lothian are now considered to be at risk of exceeding the UK Radon Action Level. This is because the way in which Radon risk is assessed changed to consider the types of rocks underground.
What is Radon Gas?
Radon is a colourless, odourless radioactive gas. It is formed by the radioactive decay of the small amounts of uranium that occur naturally in all rocks and soils. It has long been associated with Aberdeenshire, Devon and Cornwall.
Where is Radon found?
Radon is everywhere; formed from the uranium in all rocks and soils. Radon levels are low everywhere outdoors and in most areas indoors, too. Consequently, the health risk is small, unless it gathers in homes and other buildings where people spend a lot of time.
The Indicative Atlas provides a visual representation of the degree of risk in each area. The darker the colour on the Radon maps, the greater the chance of a high Radon level in a building.
The general areas affected in West Lothian are:
- Linlithgow Bridge
- Bathgate Hills
- Livingston (Knightsridge and Deans Industrial Estate)
- Bathgate, including Wester Inch
Not all buildings even in the darkest areas have high levels. The published maps have a limited resolution of 1km squares. The colours shown represent the worst case within the square, which may only affect a very small area within it. If you have checked and found your home is within one of the coloured 1km squares, we have access to higher resolution mapping, which will help you decide what action to take. However, only testing can definitively determine the radiation levels within an individual property.
For more information, please see our downloadable Information Sheet and UK Radon.