Motorists in the south east of England face hours of delays on and around the M25 following a major diesel spill close to Gatwick Airport.
The queues started to build up from 4am on Tuesday after a truck collided with a barrier and spilled fuel from its tank on the clockwise carriageway of the busy motorway near junction 23 at Redhill in Surrey. The carriageway had to be closed and vehicles diverted round the sliproad. As of 9.30am, two mile tailbacks had built up, but with the Highways Agency not expecting the situation to be fully sorted out before 3pm, drivers can expect longer delays throughout the morning and early afternoon.
There were also long delays on the M23 northbound between junctions 9 and 7, which affected traffic from Gatwick.
With an area of the M25 needing to be resurfaced, the delays were set to continue for a large part of the day.
A Highways Agency spokeswoman said: "The lorry spilled fuel on the central carriageway. There was an extensive spillage.
"We are doing all we can to clear this up as quickly as possible. The junction is unlikely to be fully operational before 3pm and we are advising road users to avoid the area if possible."
Another tanker spillage wreaked havoc on the motorway network in the north of England, forcing the closure of the northbound M6 in Lancashire.
It left miles of traffic stationary for more than an hour on the M6 and M61 motorways near Preston.
A tanker had leaked 15 tons of an as yet unidentified flammable solvent on the northbound carriageway of the M6 near junction 31, close to where the M6 and M61 meet.
The liquid spilled as the tanker went uphill and then cascaded down all four carriageways for several hundred metres, according to a spokesman for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, which was first alerted shortly after 10am.
The driver of the tanker was taken to hospital after inhaling strong fumes.
The fire service spokesman said there a big "mop-up" operation was under way to clear the motorway.
A spokeswoman for Lancashire Police said: "All four lanes of the carriageway are closed and police, fire and Highways Agency are on the scene.
"The road closures are likely to be in place for some time.
"We would ask people to avoid travelling to the area if possible.2
Copyright © Press Association 2011