Charity renews calls for new safety laws following Hampshire e-scooter blaze

21 June 2024

  • Gosport fire a stark reminder of the growing risk posed by e-bike and e-scooter batteries, charity warns.
  • Electrical Safety First calls for urgent new safety laws to reduce fires caused by batteries.
  • E-bike battery fires continue across the country and have increased in the last year by 70%.

In response to a recent e-scooter fire in Gosport, Hampshire, Electrical Safety First is urgently calling for enhanced safety measures to be introduced by the next Government.

The fire, which occurred last night is believed to have involved a lithium-ion battery on charge connected to an e-scooter.

Hampshire Fire & Rescue Service responded to the blaze, which started in a residential property and quickly spread, damaging neighbouring homes. Initial investigations suggest that the fire was caused by an e-scooter left on charge.

Manufacturers are currently able to self-declare that their products conform to safety standards. However, due to the fire hazards posed by substandard lithium-ion batteries, Electrical Safety First is calling for mandatory third-party assessments of these batteries before they are allowed  to be sold on the UK market.

This change would  bring e-bike and e-scooter batteries in line with existing requirements  for other high-risk products such as fireworks and heavy machinery, which already have to undergo independent assessment. The recommendations were first outlined last year in the charity’s comprehensive report, Battery Breakdown.

Lesley Rudd, chief executive of Electrical Safety First commented: “This recent fire in Hampshire is just one of many we’re seeing up and down the country related to the charging of e-bike or e-scooter batteries, an issue that continues to put lives at risk  These batteries, when fully charged, can store a similar amount of energy to the TNT in six hand grenades and when they fail a process called thermal runaway begins, creating ferocious fires that can destroy  a room in minutes. Whilst many factors play a part in a battery catching fire it is  clear, based on the number of incidents and casualties we’re seeing, that there is urgent need for legislative change. We are urging the next Government to adopt our proposals, laid out last year, to introduce independent third-party certification for e-bikes, e-scooters and their batteries to reduce the risk of substandard batteries entering homes. At present, manufacturers can self-certify their batteries are safe, this needs  to end. People are dying in these terrible fires and this will continue until action is taken to address the problem. The call for enhanced safety regulations comes amidst growing concern over lithium-ion battery fires, which continue to pose significant risks across the UK.

Image credit: Hampshire Fire & Rescue Service