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Radiation occurs from 2 sources. Natural radiation exists due to materials present in the earth and particles that arrive from out of space.  Artificial radiation is caused by man-made processes and there is no difference in the effects of radiation regardless of its source.

On average, persons in the UK will receive about 10% of their annual dose of radiation from the sun's cosmic rays and another 50% is due to radon (Rn) - a gas generated from naturally occurring uranium present in the earth.  Artificial radiation sources include medical treatments - about 15% - and fall-out from world-wide nuclear tests and accidents, approximately 1%.  It's perfectly normal for a person to be continually exposed to low level radiation throughout their life and this does not cause any health effects.  However, exposure to larger amounts can cause problems and it is for this reason that enforcement agencies monitor and control radiation within our environment.

The Environmental Health Service keeps radioactive substances register on behalf of the Environment Agency. There are some premises in this area which use, or dispose of, low level radioactive materials, such as gloves and aprons used in medical treatments, or residues from other sources regulated to use lower level radiation.  Another example is that small radioactive devices are used in smoke detectors which can be found in most homes.  All these premises that use these materials are registered with the Environment Agency under The Radioactive Substances Act 1993.  The Agency is obliged to send a copy of the certificate for each premise to the relevant local authority.  If you wish to view the radiation register, please contact the Environmental Protection Team on 023 8028 5411.

Bordering New Forest District is Southampton Port.  From time to time, nuclear powered vessels may visit this port, therefore the District Council in cooperation with Southampton City Council, the Ministry of Defence and an independent radiological organisation, has produced a plan to deal with the extremely unlikely event of a radioactive material leak from one of these vessels.

The booklet, adobe icon Radiation Emergency in the Port of Southampton [456kb], provides essential information you would need to know in the unlikely event of a leak of radioactive material from a vessel.

PLEASE NOTE: if an incident occurred it would probably only effect people living or working very close, or within the port.  But the Health and Safety Executive requires people living up to 2 kilometres away to be given information.  There is a map within the booklet which shows the zone affected and all premises, including private homes, within that zone already have this book.

Updated: 8 Apr 2015
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