BREAKING NEWS: Miles-long fuel spill triggers police alert
By Simon Hacker | 31st October 2023
Police are hunting an HGV driver after issuing a warning motorists in the Stroud area to drive with extra care following a fuel spillage that spanned from junction 13 of the M5 through to Tetbury.
Areas particularly affected include the A46 Bath Road in Nailsworth, outside Renishaw on Latimer Road in Stonehouse and on Old Bristol Road, in Nailsworth.
Motorists are asked to avoid those areas for the time being.
In a Facebook warning from the Gloucestershire Roads page operated by Shire Hall, the spill was claimed to be identified from the Shell garage in Eastington (which is currently undergoing a rebuild program) through to A419 towards Nailsworth.
The county council authority added that "crew are working to resolve the hazard".
Officers from Gloucestershire Constabulary's Roads Policing Unit believe the diesel leaked from a fuel tanker and enquiries are ongoing to track the vehicle.
A spokesman said: "Anyone who has travelled through the area and seen the tanker or has dashcam footage of it is asked to call 101 quoting incident 106 of 31 October. Please dial 999 if you are driving behind or can see the tanker at the time.
Officers say they are now liaising with colleagues from National Highways, with a number of road closures being put into place so that the fuel can be cleared.
Diesel oil can be broken down by naturally occurring microbes in soil within one to two months, but in terms of toxicity where it enters a water course it is considered to be one of the most acutely toxic substances.
In 2019, Highways England (HE) issued research on the impact and cost of diesel spillages on the road network and gave
guidelines for commercial fleet operators and HGV drivers. In a relatively minor case study of a clean-up operation from an incident on the M11, HE said that the estimated cost to UK PLC from the event was more than £45,000 – a figure its legal teams automatically chase from the HGV driver's insurers.
In 2018, HE recorded 314 HGV diesel spillages, with the average overall cost of a four-hour delay totalling £540,000. A diesel spill can corrode and damage the road surface within two hours, thereby increasing repair costs and delays.
An HE spokesman said: "We conducted a survey of over 200 fleet operators which revealed 42% don't equip their vehicles with spill kits. This would result in a spillage not being treated until a response unit arrived."
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