The environment contains low level radiation. It is not harmful to health if properly managed. There are natural sources like radon gas that comes out of the ground, particularly in areas where the bedrock is granite, and there are man-made sources such as telecoms masts and radiation sources used in industry and health care. In daily life, common sources of non-ionising radiation include the sun, sunbeds, household electrical appliances, mobile phones, Wi-Fi, and microwave ovens.

We have very limited involvement in the control of radiation sources. Below are links to information regarding the most common sources of local radiation.


Southwark is in a low Radon area. For information about Radon visit the UK Radon website.

Electromagnetic radiation

All electrical currents cause electromagnetic radiation. These can range from the very powerful such as high voltage cables and powerlines to the very weak such as Wi-Fi. For more information on electromagnetic radiation visit the World Health Organization (WHO) website.

Telecoms Masts

The safety of telecoms masts is overseen by the Health & Safety Executive. There are a number of telecoms masts in Southwark. To get a list of telecoms masts or base stations in a particular area visit Mast data.

Visit the Public Health England (PHE) website for guidance on mobile phone base stations, radio waves and health.

Exposure levels from living near mobile base stations are low and the evidence indicates they're unlikely to pose a risk to health, as long as the following national requirements are met.

Industrial Sources of radiation

Radiation sources used in industry and health care are regulated by the Health & Safety Executive. For more information visit the HSE website.

The Environment Agency keeps a register of significant radiation sources which can be searched by area.


Excessive tanning and sunburn can cause skin cancer due to ultra-violet (UV) radiation and thermal damage to the skin from the sun. Find more health advice from Cancer Research UK.


Sunbeds cause tanning by using ultraviolet (UV) rays that increase your risk of developing skin cancer. Many sunbeds give out greater doses of UV than the midday sun in the tropics. For more health information on sunbeds visit the NHS website

Microwave ovens

Microwaves are a form of electromagnetic radiation. Find information on microwave oven safety from the World Health Organization (WHO).

Page last updated: 01 March 2023

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