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London officials raise concerns over e-bike and e-scooter fires

4 days ago 44

Media caption,

An e-bike's battery explodes in a kitchen in south-west London

Blazes involving e-bikes or e-scooters are the fastest-growing fire risk in London, officials have warned.

London Fire Brigade (LFB) said three people have died this year in incidents thought to have been caused by a faulty lithium-ion battery.

City Hall has written to the government raising "serious concerns" over the regulation of e-scooters and e-bikes.

The government said it was working to address the issue of fires associated with them.

In addition to the three deaths, 51 people have been injured.

LFB said one key area of concern was unregulated products bought online.

It said many of the devices which caught alight were being charged at the time, and the fires were often been due to batteries not meeting UK safety standards.  

The London Assembly Fire, Resilience and Emergency Planning Committee is calling on the Department for Business and Trade to outline what regulation action it is taking.

It also wants the government to provide an expected timeline for achieving better regulation.

Image source, LFB

Image caption,

LFB took this image of the remains of an e-bike which caught fire in Shepherd's Bush

Anne Clarke, who chairs the committee, said: "We all use lithium-ion batteries safely at some point in our daily lives - they are found in mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and other personal electronic devices.

"E-scooters and e-bikes have the potential to offer quick travel across the city, with minimal carbon footprint.

"However, we are hugely concerned that some of the batteries in e-bike kits that are being bought online are not regulated and could be putting lives at risk."

Image source, London Fire Brigade handout

Image caption,

Sofia Duarte died after her e-bike caught fire in her Southwark home in January

Ms Clarke said many Londoners live in multiple occupancy homes or in multi-storey residential buildings, which posed not only a risk to the owner but also to others living around them.

In a prevention of future deaths report, the coroner at Mr Rahman's inquest called for further safety standards to be introduced.

A Business and Trade spokesman said: "We take all incidents of fires involving lithium batteries seriously.

"The Office for Product Safety and Standards is working closely with the fire service to review all evidence of fires involving lithium batteries in e-bikes and e-scooters to ensure the product safety issues are properly assessed and action is taken to protect users from harm."

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