Kent transport

Private electric scooters cause fires, warns Kent Police and Crime Commissioner

Fires caused by e-scooters have tripled in the past year, prompting a warning from Kent Police and Crime Commissioner.

CCP Matthew Scott has unearthed the grimmest data and is now urging people not to buy electric scooters, which he says ‘are not just dangerous on our roads…also cause danger in properties people”.

Kent Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott

He approached fire services across England and Wales to ask how many vehicle-caused fires they had attended in the past two years.

The 33 departments that responded said they witnessed 95 e-scooter fires last year, compared to 33 in 2020.

Mr Scott, who is also a member of the Kent Fire and Rescue Authority, is calling on the government to ban the sale of electric scooters and warn people not to use them.

It is illegal to use e-scooters in public places unless they are hired under government-approved trials, such as the one currently underway in Canterbury.

But recent years have seen an increase in the number of electric scooter owners.

The Kent Police and Crime Commissioner has issued a warning about electric scooters.  Archival photo
The Kent Police and Crime Commissioner has issued a warning about electric scooters. Archival photo

Mr Scott said: “E-scooters are not only dangerous on our roads, they also cause danger to people’s properties.

“That’s why we need urgent action from the government to stop the sale of private electric scooters.

“They are placing additional demands on our fire and rescue services to attend to incidents where they catch fire and damage people’s homes.

“They are also distracting the police from crime and anti-social behavior because more law enforcement is needed to keep our roads safe.

“Remember that private electric scooters are not legal on our roads. Kent Police and other forces are proactive in seizing them.

Mr Scott says Kent Police are being proactive and seizing illegally driven e-scooters
Mr Scott says Kent Police are being proactive and seizing illegally driven e-scooters

“Don’t put yourself in danger. Don’t waste money. Don’t buy electric scooters.”

The question was also raised in the House of Lords yesterday morning when Lord Berkeley asked Lord Callanan (the Under Secretary of State for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) why proactive checks n hadn’t been done on inexpensive imported lithium. batteries used by many electric scooters, as occurs in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.

He said: “One manufacturer told me, and I quote, ‘unless we can prove a product has caused serious accidental injury, there is no priority for commercial standards to carry out checks. proactive.’ But isn’t the answer to proactively check and prevent these illegal imports from causing fires? »

Lord Callanan responded that safety checks of imported products are essential and checks are carried out using a risk-based approach where appropriate.

He added that the Department of Transportation continues to review the use and regulation of e-scooters.

Mr Scott’s Freedom of Information inquiry found that while there was just one recorded e-scooter fire in Kent each year, the London Fire Service recorded 28 fires of this type in 2021, double the number of the previous year.

In Surrey, firefighters were called 10 times compared to five the previous year, while in South Wales there were six cases last year, compared to one in 2020.

Some fire crews have also been called after e-scooters were deliberately set on fire by arsonists.