Acid spill off overturned lorry closes M11 near Stansted

M11 crash Image copyright Paul Jones
Image caption No other vehicles were involved in the crash which happened at 17:10 BST

A lorry has overturned on a motorway in Essex and spilled a large amount of chemicals across both carriageways.

The M11 has been shut in both directions between Harlow and Bishop's Stortford near Stansted Airport.

The chemicals have been identified as melamine formaldehyde resin and phosphoric acid, Essex Fire and Rescue Service said.

Firefighters have been advised they are not hazardous and Highways Agency clean-up crews are tackling the spill.

The motorway has been closed from junction 7 to 8 and motorists have been urged to avoid the area and find alternative routes.

"Diversions are in place but the road is likely to remain closed in both directions for some considerable time," a police spokesman said.

"Motorists going to Stansted Airport should plan alternative routes avoiding the motorway and allow plenty of extra time for their journeys."

The slip roads from the M25 onto the M11 have been shut and congestion is building up on other roads in south Essex.

The Highways Agency said the motorway was not likely to be reopened until 03:30 BST on Friday and it may be later.

Blocked drains

Divisional fire officer Terry Povey said: "The chemicals are low risk to the health of people and we have contained the leak.

"We have blocked the drains and a clean-up team is tackling the spillage.

"This has been downgraded because the chemicals do not pose a significant health risk.

"It is now a matter of getting the road cleared so it can reopen."

Essex Police said: "The fire service will be dealing with the spillage in liaison with the Environment Agency.

"The ambulance service is treating the driver of the lorry, who has received cuts and bruises but is not believed to be seriously injured."

No other vehicles were involved in the crash which happened at 17:10 BST.

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