Caithness Map :: Links to Site Map Great value Unlimited Broadband from an award winning provider  

 

Radon Gas Found In Five Highland Schools Including Halkirk

14th February 2014

As part of an on-going monitoring programme, recent radon testing in five Highland schools has found high levels of radon gas. The schools are Glen Urquhart High School, Drumnadrochit; Glen Urquhart Primary School, Drumnadrochit; Helmsdale Primary School; Halkirk Primary School; and Kilchuimen Primary and Academy, Fort Augustus, which is a shared campus.

The tests found that radon measurements were above the level at which action is required to reduce the presence of this naturally occurring gas. In response, staff and parents have been informed of the results and action will be taken by the Council to reduce radon levels in the area affected. Testing will continue to ensure that levels are reduced and remain below the action level.

Checks are being carried out by Council officers to identify and implement any immediate steps that can be taken to reduce radon levels. Arrangements are also being made to engage a specialist consultant to supervise detailed surveys, and recommend long term mitigation measures to reduce radon.

The following eight schools were also tested and radon levels were found to be below the action level: Tarradale Primary School; Deshar Primary School; Invergarry Primary School; Beauly Primary School; Cannich Bridge Primary School; Teanassie Primary School; Castletown Primary School; and Marybank Primary School.

Radon is a natural radioactive gas. It is invisible, has no smell and no taste. It comes from a tiny amount of uranium that is found in all rocks and soils. Radon is present in all parts of the UK, although the gas disperses quickly outdoors so levels are generally very low. Radon is also present in all buildings, including homes. For most UK residents, radon accounts for about half of their total annual radiation dose.

There are health risks associated with radon. But these require significant long term exposure to the gas over many years. The Council's Environmental Health Manager, Alan Yates, has discussed this matter with colleagues at Public Health England, who have advised that the high levels should be reduced and further specialist advice should be obtained. The schools can remain open while this work is done.

Hugh Fraser, The Highland Council's Director of Education, Culture and Sport said: "The Council will take action to ensure the radon levels in these schools are reduced below the legal limits. We have been advised that the risks to staff and pupils are very low."

Dr. Ken Oates, Consultant in Public Health Medicine with NHS Highland, said: "The increased risk to pupils or staff of developing lung cancer, caused by exposure to radon while at school, is very low indeed. Smoking is a much greater risk of lung cancer and so it is much more important that people don't smoke. There is no evidence that exposure to radon increases the risk of other cancers and exposure to radon does not cause short term health effects such as shortness of breath, coughing, headaches or fever, or long term chest conditions such as asthma, emphysema or chronic obstructive lung disease."

Neil McColl, head of radon at the PHE's Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards, has told the Council: "High levels of radon should be reduced but in this case the buildings can continue to be used while work is carried out."

Alan Yates, Environmental Health Manager, said: "The Council's monitoring programme has identified the high levels in these schools. I encourage employers and householders across the Highlands to check if their properties may be at risk by visiting the UKRadon website and checking the maps. We may also be able to offer housing grants to householders for any works required."

All parents and staff at the affected schools were informed by letter. An FAQ document has also been provided and can be viewed on the Council's website www.highland.gov.uk. Further information is available on the Public Health England's radon website: http://www.ukradon.org/

 

Related Businesses

 

Related Articles

23/1/2018
Interim elections for Highland Community CouncilsThumbnail for article : Interim elections for Highland Community Councils
Nominations are being invited from people seeking election onto eight community councils across the Highlands.   The resignation of some members have brought the following six community council's down to below half of their memberships so interim elections have been called in order to fill the vacancies.  
22/1/2018
Helping businesses and third sector supply to the public sectorThumbnail for article : Helping businesses and third sector supply to the public sector
The Highland Council and its Commercial and Procurement Shared Services partners Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Councils are running a series of events to help businesses supply to the public sector.   Some of the events are hosted by other organisations and we will be signposting suppliers to these as well.  
19/1/2018
Leader Of Highland Council Speaks After Budget Process LeaksThumbnail for article : Leader Of Highland Council Speaks After Budget Process Leaks
Leader of the Highland Council, Margaret Davidson has moved to reassure communities about forthcoming budget decisions.   She said: "No decisions will be made until the Council meets on 15 February.  
12/1/2018
Highland Council Revises Budget Figures But Still Anticipates Big CutsThumbnail for article : Highland Council Revises Budget Figures But Still Anticipates Big Cuts
At Highland Council work has been ongoing for some months to prepare a Revenue and Capital Budget for 2018/19 and beyond, with the anticipation of a significant cut to available funds.   The Scottish Government's proposed grant settlement was announced on 14 December 2017.  
9/1/2018
Highland Residents To Benefit From Pioneering Fithomes Thanks To £3m City-region Deal WindfallThumbnail for article : Highland Residents To Benefit From Pioneering Fithomes Thanks To £3m City-region Deal Windfall
Around £3 million of funding has been agreed for a ground-breaking Highland project that could transform the lives of people with complex health needs as part of the Inverness and Highland City Region Deal.   The business case for the ‘FitHome' assisted living project was approved in November last year with £3m funding from the Scottish Government.  
9/1/2018
The staggering true scale of council job cutsThumbnail for article : The staggering true scale of council job cuts
An article in the Press and Journal today 9th January 2018 highlights the cuts in staffing levels across Scottish councils with Highland being one of the highest.   In 2009 Highland had 9953 Full-time Equivalent Staff and in 2017 it had dropped by 21% to 7838.  
9/1/2018
Highland Businesses Urged To Be On Scam Alert
Highland Council Trading Standards team has recently seen an increase in scams targeting Highland businesses.   The most common scams reported by businesses relate to marketing and publishing but other frauds such as those involving demands for payment for unsolicited goods sent to businesses (such as ink cartridges which were never ordered) are also on the rise.  
27/12/2017
Permanent Extension To Blue Badge Scheme CriteriaThumbnail for article : Permanent Extension To Blue Badge Scheme Criteria
Cognitive improvements to be included in Blue Badge scheme The disabled person's parking badge pilot, which was launched in April 2016, has been made permanent by the Scottish Government.   The eligibility criteria were revised and extended under a pilot to allow carers and relatives of people who pose a risk to themselves or others in traffic to apply for a disabled person's parking badge, provided they meet the criteria.  
27/12/2017
Stay safe with New Year sales advice from Trading Standards
People looking to pick up a New Year bargain in the sales on the internet, by mail order or on the high street are being encouraged by The Highland Council's Trading Standards team to be aware of their consumer rights and to stay safe online from scams and fake websites that try to dupe inexperienced online shoppers trying to buy a bargain.   Consumers have extra protection when they shop online.  
21/12/2017
Scottish Government rules out ‘tourist tax' measures
The British Hospitality Association secured a major victory today (21 December2017) as the Scottish Government confirmed that any plans for a ‘tourist tax' in Edinburgh - or any other Scottish cities - are firmly off the table.  The BHA has been campaigning consistently for over six years against the implementation of any such additional and uncompetitive tax and is delighted that the Scottish Government has recognised our reservations.  

[Printer Friendly Version]