Hyder Consulting, the international design and advisory consultancy, has completed a radiological survey and human health risk assessment, believed to be the UK’s first under the extension to Part 2a Contaminated Land Regulations, confirming that more than 90 homes in Gloucester are free from radiation risks.

The project was launched by Gloucester City Council’s contaminated land officer Steve Moreby, after it was discovered that the properties – built in the 1950s and 1960s – were located on the site of former Royal Air Force (RAF) burning grounds, where WWII aircraft had been destroyed.

The potential risk was posed by radioactivity emitted by radium Ra226, a substance used to illuminate the dials on planes’ instruments.

Hyder carried out the project in partnership with its specialist nuclear consulting partners, Bradtec.

George Flower, technical director at Hyder Consulting, said: “This was a very sensitive project – for most people, their home is their most valuable possession and the suggestion that there may be a radiation risk is clearly a major concern.”

“We therefore needed to provide the residents with complete confidence as to whether or not their properties were free from contamination.”

“A range of surveying equipment and techniques – which had been honed in the research facilities at the University of West of England and approved by the Environment Agency – were used to complete the survey.”

“It was carried out in two weeks and the findings were backed up with radiological testing at specialist laboratory NIRAS.”

“While no dials were found, the surveying techniques were sensitive enough to locate some harmless, naturally radioactive filler material that had been used in a garden patio.”

“This risk-free find was a good result as it established the ability of the technique to locate even this very low level of radiation and gave all parties confidence that there is no danger posed by radiation at any of the properties.”

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