It has emerged that Leeds City Council is rolling out checks for Radon gas in Council properties in parts of the city including Belle Isle and Middleton.
The plans were discussed at a Council Scrutiny Board meeting last week after Cllr Wayne Dixon (SDP, Middleton Park) raised his concerns about the issue.
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas, which can increase the risk of cancer if it is present in large enough concentrations. Most of Leeds has a very low risk of Radon gas according to UK Health Security Agency, but areas of South and East Leeds have a slightly higher risk level of up to 5%.
Officers from Housing Leeds told Councillors at the meeting of the Scrutiny Board (Environment, Housing & Communities) on Thursday (20 July 2023) that a programme of testing and monitoring had begun in Morley and would cover Middleton and Belle Isle in due course.
Adam Crampton, Head of Property Mananagement at Housing Leeds, said a “robust, yet proportionate, approach to testing right across the city” was underway. The methodology had been agreed with the UK Health Security Agency. He explained that the majority (about 45,000) of council homes are in the 0-1% risk category, with 9,136 homes in the 1-3% or 3-5% risk categories. Homes in Belle Isle and Middleton are in the 1-3% range.
Dawn Bailey, Chief Officer for Public Health, stressed that Radon was only one gas that impacts on health and that whilst long exposure to high levels of Radon can increase the chance of lung cancer, smoking which is the biggest cause of lung cancer.
Testing of Council housing will provide a good sample in terms of numbers and geographical spread for the whole city. Once that evidence is evaluated, the council will consider testing private rented and owner-occupied properties in higher risk areas.
Officers were asked to provide a more detailed report on their work and to contact other Councils in higher risk areas of the country to compare approaches. The Scrutiny Panel will then consider if a full investigation of the issue is needed.
You can watch a video of the meeting here (item begins at 1:18:00)
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