Twenty tonnes of Marmite, raw human sewage and 6,000 live chickens have been listed as among the strangest road spills in recent years.

Britains strangest road spill: 20 tonnes of Marmite.

Britains strangest road spill: 20 tonnes of Marmite. Image by Paul / CC BY 2.0

Refrigerated liquid oxygen, thousands of beer cans and a leaking tanker of animal blood also made the top 10, according to the body responsible for England’s major highways.

The list was published by Highways England (HE) in the wake of a section of the M11 near Epping, Essex, being closed for 24 hours last week when a lorry shed 24 tonnes of lard.

HE’s director of customer operations Melanie Clarke said: “We know drivers get frustrated when their journeys are disrupted but we do all we can to clean the road quickly after an incident – and it’s often much more complicated than simply moving the vehicles off the road to reopen it.

“That’s why it can often take longer for us to safely reopen roads when a potentially dangerous substance is spilled in an incident.

“Our teams expect the unexpected but, of course, when you’re dealing with 10 tonnes of salmon, dangerous toxic chemicals or emulsion paint, the clean-up operation is somewhat complicated.”

Steve Gooding, director of motoring research charity RAC Foundation, said: “Congestion costs the economy an estimated £8 billion annually.

“It is understandable that it takes a while to clear up some of these stranger substances but being stuck in jams is not a Marmite issue: everyone detests it and we welcomed the last Government’s commitment to open roads more quickly after incidents.

“With the population – and hence traffic – set to rise significantly in coming years, even a few hundred gallons of spilled milk is enough to make drivers weep.”

(Press Association)