Leeds City Council has said they are carrying out tests for radon gas at 10,000 homes across the city.
The council has described the move as “robust and proportionate” and says in April, it was testing as a “precautionary measure” alongside the UK Health Security Agency. It has said there was “no suggestion” residents or properties are at risk.
Radon gas is natural, odourless and invisible and is located in the atmosphere everywhere in low amounts. However, in high concentrations it is linked to health issues and cancer.
More than 9,100 council properties have been identified by the UKHSA as having a 1% to 5% chance of having excessive radon potential, a council scrutiny meeting was told on Thursday. It is in these homes that the council is testing, with Morley, Middleton and Rothwell the areas where the risk, although still believed to be very low, is higher than in other parts of the city.
A further 45,000 council homes are believed to have a risk factor of between zero and one per cent. Privately owned properties, which could be just as easily affected, are not included in the data.
Adam Crampton, the council’s head of property management, told the meeting: “Radon gas is not just a risk in Leeds, it’s UK-wide. There are areas of the country, particularly in South Wales and south-western England, where it’s a signficantly higher risk than in Leeds.
“There’s little by way of data or information to support any concern that it’s a higher risk in Leeds, be it empirical or anecdotal. But equally that doesn’t allow us to prove that the risk is low.
“In consultation with the UKHSA, we’ve developed what we perceive is a robust and proportionate approach to testing right across the city.”
The issue was brought to the council’s environment and housing scrutiny committee by Middleton councillor Wayne Dixon, who said he wanted “reassurance” that people are safe. The matter has also previously been highlighted by campaigner and Kirkstall resident Stuart Long, who claimed his mum’s death from ovarian cancer was linked to radon gas levels in that part of the city.