Published 29 April 2024

Joint statement with Electrical Safety First on new Home Office numbers on fires, fatalities and casualties related to e-bikes and e-scooters

In a joint statement responding to new Home Office numbers on fires, fatalities and casualties related to e-bike and e-scooters, Phil Clark, Emerging Energy Technologies Lead for National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) and Lesley Rudd, Chief Executive of Electrical Safety First (ESF) commented:

“NFCC and Electrical Safety First have long been warning of the fire safety risks posed by poorly manufactured or converted e-bikes and e-scooter batteries, and have been calling for urgent regulatory and legislative changes to help keep people safe. Through raising awareness of these risks, we are now in a place whereby English fire and rescue services are capturing more of this information, and that will give us a clearer picture as to the scale of that risk.

“These latest Home Office figures are on the conservative side, and we believe the scale of the issue to be significantly greater than indicated by this data, especially considering London Fire Brigade’s attendance at 179 incidents in 2023 alone.

“New technology is emerging at a pace we have never seen before, and that can be a great thing in helping people to travel in a more sustainable way, but the legislation and guidance must keep pace so that we can reduce the risk to consumers. That risk comes when batteries and chargers do not meet safety standards or are manufactured poorly. The results when things do go wrong can be catastrophic and in some cases, destroy lives.

“Tackling this worrying trend is going to take a multi-partner, multi-pronged approach. Industry must step up to the challenge, developing their own appropriate guidance and ensuring products are safe.

“The Government also has an urgent role to play in ensuring vital legislation and product standards are introduced to keep people safe. Before e-bikes, e-scooters and their batteries even enter the market, they should be subject to third-party safety certification by a government-approved body, like other high-risk products such as fireworks. Products should be inherently safe for the consumer at point of purchase. Regulations are also needed to address the incorrect disposal of these batteries, which can then go on to cause serious fires for our Waste Industry.

“With an apparent increase in sub-standard products being sold online, and the emergence of e-bike conversion kits and modifications being undertaken by people without the necessary skills and knowledge, NFCC and Electrical Safety First will continue to work with partners to improve regulations and further raise public awareness in this area, aiming to reduce the risks and ultimately save lives.”