Birmingham & Black Country

M6 clean-up delayed after fatal crash, leaked report says

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Media captionThousands of people were stuck on the M6 and surrounding roads

Repair lorries stuck in traffic and poor decision-making led to delays in dealing with a fatal accident on the M6, a leaked debrief says.

A 26-year-old driver was killed in a crash involving a car and a lorry between junctions five and six at about 02:00 GMT on 4 February.

The road was closed for nearly 24 hours, causing lengthy delays.

Highways England has apologised, but the West Midlands Combined Authority said drivers were let down.

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The report found lorries with resurfacing materials coming from Leicestershire were stuck in congestion worsened by the incident, with vehicles carrying tarmac needing a police escort along the hard shoulder to arrive.

There was no record of nearby Birmingham and Solihull councils being informed of the seriousness of the problems, the report said, with a fuel spill not reported until more than five hours after the crash, during the morning rush hour.

Image copyright Pete Saull
Image caption A 26-year-old man was killed in the crash

David Jamieson, West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, will hold a hearing on 18 March to investigate the "disappointing" response.

"It would appear that the amount of co-operation between each of the services was minimal at the most," he said.

Darren Cooper, leader of Sandwell Council, said the report showed current plans were "not working".

"We have to have an emergency plan in future to deal with this issue," he said. "Some of the actions of Highways England have clearly let us all down."

Image copyright Highways Agency
Image caption The Highways Agency released a map of affected routes in the West Midlands following the crash

Motorist Gary Slater was stuck in traffic for more than five hours, missing the internment of his mother's ashes as a result.

He criticised what he said was a lack of diversion signs and a decision not to make the toll-road free during the rush hour.

A spokesman for Highways England said: "We take safety extremely seriously, and we learn from every road accident we attend, and this one is no exception."

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