Hospital’s Controversial Decision: EVs Barred from Parking Amid Fire Safety Concerns

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Hospital's Controversial Decision EVs Barred from Parking Amid Fire Safety Concerns
Hospital's Controversial Decision EVs Barred from Parking Amid Fire Safety Concerns

In a concerning turn of events, a UK electric vehicle (EV) owner, Paul Freeman-Powell, found himself denied access to a hospital carpark while accompanying his son to a medical appointment at Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool.

Greeted by signs explicitly stating “No Electric Vehicles,” Freeman-Powell was shocked when a security guard informed him that EVs were prohibited due to fears that their batteries might react with the metal structure of the carpark, potentially leading to fires or explosions.

Despite his frustration, Freeman-Powell managed to find alternative parking arrangements to attend his appointment, later filing a Freedom of Information (FOI) request seeking clarification on the restriction.

While awaiting a response to his FOI request, Alder Hey Hospital revealed to the BBC that the restriction stemmed from a temporary measure prompted by concerns over the car park’s fire safety system, particularly the need for upgrades to its fire sprinkler system.

The Alder Hey Hospital In Liverpool
The Alder Hey Hospital In Liverpool

This decision was purportedly made following a recommendation from Merseyside Fire and Rescue. However, the hospital clarified that its main carpark, which boasts 14 EV charging bays, remains accessible to battery-powered vehicles, as it has already undergone upgrades to accommodate EVs and ensure enhanced fire safety measures.

Despite the hospital’s explanations, experts in the EV community have challenged the decision, questioning the validity of the fire department’s advice. Quentin Willson, former Top Gear presenter and head of the advocacy group Fair Charge, highlighted the contradiction between the health benefits of EVs – notably their zero tailpipe emissions – and the hospital’s restriction on their access.

Monash Health
Monash Health Casey In Berwick

Colin Walker, head of the research group Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, echoed these sentiments, citing data from Australian research firm EV FireSafe indicating that traditional petrol and diesel vehicles are significantly more prone to fires than EVs.

However, it’s worth noting that EVs, while less likely to catch fire, pose unique challenges in firefighting due to the higher temperatures at which they burn and the specialized techniques required for extinguishing their flames.

This controversy isn’t confined to the UK, as similar debates have unfolded globally. In Australia, Monash Health imposed a ban on staff charging their EVs at its facilities, citing concerns over fire safety. However, such decisions underscore the ongoing need for comprehensive safety measures and clear guidelines to address the evolving domain of electric mobility.

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By Jayson O'Neil

Jayson is a car-o-holic, and you will often find him writing about cars & bikes here at DaxStreet. You can reach out to him at [email protected]

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