Residents have been urged to dispose batteries properly after a spate of fires on bin trucks.

St Albans District Council says there have been three fires on its trucks this year that may have been caused by lithium-ion batteries thrown into brown bins.

Fortunately, the blazes were spotted quickly and the fire service was alerted and able to arrive in time to extinguish them.

However, two years ago a blaze that may have been caused by a battery completely engulfed one of waste contractor Veolia’s vehicles in Harpenden. The crew managed to escape without injury.

St Albans & Harpenden Review:

The fire in 2018

Lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) – commonly used in portable electronics like mobile phones and computers - can spark a blaze if they are crushed by a waste vehicle’s compactor.

LIBs are a well-known safety hazard as they contain highly-flammable material that can explode and erupt into flames if damaged.

Rechargeable LIBs are also used in electric power tools, computer game consoles, digital cameras, torches and garden equipment.

They should be disposed of, along with other small electrical items, as recyclable waste by being put in a plastic bag beside a wheeled bin or bag and are collected weekly.

St Albans & Harpenden Review:

a typical Lithium-ion battery

A recent survey, conducted by Veolia, showed that 57 per cent of people were unaware that LIBs can spark fires if they are not disposed of properly.

Councillor Anthony Rowlands said: "With more people working from home, using laptops and other equipment, we are likely to see a rise in discarded batteries.

"What I urge people to remember is that Lithium-ion batteries can be extremely dangerous and that they can be recycled.

"We have a weekly collection for small electrical items, so there is absolutely no need for them to be put into their waste bins.

"I’m sure our residents will support our efforts to recycle these materials safely, so we can preserve our precious resources and protect the green economy."