Roads - spillages
The County Council will deal with spillages on the highway that could cause an immediate hazard to the highway user or to the environment, often in conjunction with the emergency services.
For these and other substances of a hazardous nature, the Police and fire service may also be involved in the incident and road closures may be required.
Spillages of material on the road affect road surface conditions and can be lead to road traffic accidents. The table below outlines the types of spillages and how these are likely to be dealt with:
Type of spillage
Likely action to resolve
Oil, diesel, petrol or brake fluid
As much information as possible is needed to enable the incident to be dealt with effectively. For example, an HGV that has been leaking diesel over several miles requires a different response than a very localised incident.
- Diesel spillage- generally dealt with by sanding the area and placing any appropriate signs at the roadside.
- Petrol spillage- does not usually create the same problem, as it will evaporate readily into the atmosphere.
Sand, gravel and other building materials
- Materials such as concrete need to be removed as soon as possible before it sets.
- Sand/gravel on the highway will reduce the road surface resistance to skidding. The road will need to be swept to remove the hazard.
- Before any work is carried out, the materials have to be assessed and the risks and hazards identified for those attending the incident.
Hazardous substances e.g. asbestos
There is general and specific legislation controlling the transportation, storage and use of hazardous substances. There are different organisations, including the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) that enforce this legislation depending on the business involved and/or where the substances are located.
Dropped loads like steel, glass and containers
Dropped loads can cause damage to vehicles and pedestrians. The action taken to resolve a dropped load will be dependent upon the type of load. In severe cases the road may need to be closed until the spillage is safely removed.
Spillages - frequently asked questions