Head of NASPM Stuart McGregor recommends that all E-Bikes and E-Scooters be banned from school sites.

This is due to the large number of fires and explosions caused by Electric Scooters and Electric Bikes, NASPM recommends that these should not be permitted on the school premises simply due to the fact of this potential uncontrolled risk.

However, if the schools decide to allow them on the school site it is recommended that you complete 2 vital actions:

  1. Check with your insurance that they allow the E-Bikes/Scooter – Lithium-ion batteries to be on site, and if they have any additional instructions
  2. Complete a risk assessment on the storage of these units

Schools must be aware that failure to follow guidance may result in insurers declining to pay claims arising from lithium-ion batteries, and therefore NASPM strongly recommend schools to check with their insurers if they are deciding to keep E-Bikes/Scooters on the premises.

Lithium-ion batteries provide a significant amount of energy (compared to other battery types) and are used in a wide range of products, and the purchase and use of E-Bikes/Scooters have vastly increased over the last 12 months.

NASPM have been aware of a large number of fires in relation to lithium-ion batteries and also identified the increase in school use of such products, including electrical bikes on school sites.

We wanted to complete a risk assessment overview of the hazards of lithium-ion batteries and the steps that a qualified fire risk assessor and insurance may recommend that you should take to reduce risk to your school.

What risk?

Fires involving lithium batteries are the fastest growing fire risk in London. So far in 2023, the fire brigade has been called on average to an e-bike or e-scooter fire once every two days. In 2022, they attended 87 e-bike and 29 e-scooter fires, a total of 116 fires. In 2021, Transport for London (TfL) banned e-scooters from London’s transport network. This is due to a number of fires on the network involving these units.

An explosion and or fire can be caused by a Thermal runaway within a battery pack as a result of a range of conditions, including:

  • Heat: It’s normal for batteries to generate some heat when charging or in use. However, if your device’s battery feels extremely hot to the touch, there’s a chance it’s defective and may start a fire. If a battery cannot cool, presents a fire risk
  • Bulging: A battery bulging or swelling out of shape is a common sign of it failing. If your battery looks swollen, you should stop using it immediately. Similar signs include any type of lump or leaking from the device
  • Noise: Failing lithium batteries have also been reported to make hissing or cracking sounds
  • Smell: If you notice a strong or unusual smell coming from the battery, this could also be a sign of it failing
  • Performance: A failure to fully charge or longer charge times can be a sign that your battery is failing
  • Smoke: If your battery or device is smoking, a fire has already started
  • Electrical risks include short circuits, overcharging and rapid discharging. Placing batteries under such circumstances can result in exothermic reactions occurring in the battery unit, resulting in overheating and potentially fire.
  • Radiated heat A battery unit, located near stocks of combustible material, can result in a large fire
  • Damage If a battery is damaged (through dents, falls etc.). Damage can cause internal shorting and/or release of corrosive/flammable electrolyte.
  • Explosion Lithium-ion batteries pose an explosion risk if the packaging around the separator is broken and internal shorting within the battery results in ignition.
  • Damage risk will be higher if lithium polymer batteries are present.

In addition to the above risk of fire and or explosion is the fact that due to the residual stored energy, these are difficult to bring under final control as this stored energy has the risk of re-ignition of fire.

The management of health and safety regulations ‘Principle of Prevention’ starts with the need to eliminate high risks, the school risk assessment and the fire risk assessment should follow the principles of prevention process of elimination of high risk.

What a risk assessment should consider:


Elimination of high-risk – prohibit all E-Bikes and E-Scooters. This is the best action and recommended action as it completely removes the risk and no further action or risk remains.

  • If the school decides to allow E-Bikes and E-Scooter on-site then the school must check with their insurer and also complete a risk assessment


  • External purpose-built, vented, storage cabinet, sited away from stores of combustible material
  • Away from combustible and flammable materials/aerosols
  • Not stored in either high or very low temperatures referencing the manufacturer’s guidance
  • Automatic fire detection installed to give early warning of any fire condition
  • Not to be stored on exit routes, near assembly points, near or in plant rooms.
  • Reviewed by a competent fire risk assessor
  • A fire sprinkler system with local automatic fixed fire suppression should be installed for any bulk storage of these units and checked with the school insurer and fire risk assessor.
  • Stores should be clearly labelled and identified on fire plans
  • A competent fire risk assessor to review the storage locations and associated risks


  • Overcharging/overheating of these units is a common fire causation
  • The fire risk assessor should complete a review and update the fire risk assessment to include the location of charging stations is determined based on manufacturers’ recommendations, charging units should be located away from stores of combustible material, charging units should be used in non-combustible rooms
  • Non-combustible, non-metal housing should be used to reduce the risk of fire spread and short-circuits.
  • Review the manufacturer guidance – including maintenance, inspection
  • No charging should be carried out outside of operating hours.
  • CO2 Dry Powder extinguishers should be available in close proximity to charging stations. Servicing and maintenance schedules are formally prepared for charging equipment.

Disposal of waste battery units

  • Lithium batteries should not be placed in the same bins as your regular rubbish or recycling. If they overheat, they may cause it to catch fire. Instead, check your local authority’s website for the safe way to dispose of lithium batteries in your area.
  • Only be disposed of by a competent waste disposal contractor
  • Waste Lithium-Ion batteries should be held in a dedicated, non-combustible store, segregated from all other waste battery stocks.

Refer to the NASPM document centre for the Checklist for Lithium-Ion Batteries

Information and key terms

Lithium-Ion Batteries

A Lithium-ion battery is made up of the following components:

  • 2 x Current Separators (1 positive and 1 negative)
  • Cathode
  • Anode
  • Separator
  • Electrolyte

The electrolyte carries positively charged lithium ions from the anode to the cathode (and vice-versa through the separator). Movement of the lithium ions creates free electrons on the anode, creating a charge at the positive current collector.

Key Terms

Power density: The amount of power that can be generated by a battery with respect to its size (measured in Watts per Kilogram (W/kg).

Thermal runaway – A process where an increase in temperature results in the release of energy which, in turn, contributes to a further increase in temperature. Thermal runaway in a battery unit can lead to the degradation of the unit, increased release of energy and ultimately fire and/or explosion.

Energy density: The amount of energy a battery can store with respect to its mass (measured in Watt-Hours per Kilogram (Wh/kg)

Lithium Polymer Batteries

Lithium-ion batteries do not require metal casing with a flexible polymer casing used for some applications. This means that a light high-density battery can be made without spaces between cells.

Lithium polymer battery energy density can be greater than a lithium-ion pack.


The National Alliance of School Premises Managers (NASPM) is here to support premises staff to effectively manage your school estate in a safe way.

We are the only national organisation working with school premises staff, providing a health, safety and estates management resource with the sole aim to provide a professional school premises standard with opportunities for continuous development. Find out more about membership here: https://naspm.co.uk/membership/