Large fire closes major motorway overnight

A blurry photo of a busy motorway with thick black smoke billowing across both carriageways in the distance
Smoke was seen billowing across the carriageway [Tim Dixon]

A key motorway in Hampshire will be closed overnight as a result of a large fire at a waste processing plant.

The M275 into and out of Portsmouth was shut in both directions on Saturday morning as a result of "thick, black smoke" from the blaze at TJ Waste & Recycling, Hampshire & Isle of Wight Constabulary said.

The motorway reopened just after 08:30 BST with a reduced speed limit of 50mph in place but, just after 11:00, police said the road was closed again.

The force said the smoke made driving conditions unsafe and urged people to avoid the area.

The closures were in place in all directions from Mile End Road and Rudmore roundabout in Portsmouth.

On Saturday evening, police said the motorway was expected to remain shut "for some time" to allow Hampshire & Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service to deal with the fire.

A police spokesperson said: "We appreciate this may be frustrating but the safety of people using the road is our top priority and the smoke has been deemed too thick for the safe use of the M275 at the current time.

"We expect the closures to be in place until tomorrow [Sunday] and will keep you updated.

"We continue asking people to please avoid the area and make alternative travel arrangements while the incident is dealt with."

The force apologised to motorists for the inconvenience.

A large cloud of smoke hovering over a marina
Smoke from the fire was visible from Gosport Marina [Katherine Floyd ]

A spokesperson for TJ Waste & Recycling, which is on Tipner Lane, said there were no staff on site at the time of the fire, and that the area of the fire contained "non-hazardous domestic and commercial waste".

"The facility will be closed until further notice," they said.

"This is the first time anything like this has happened here and we apologise for the disruption caused to the public following closure of the motorway for safety reasons."

The fire service said the blaze was in a sorting bay of "non-hazardous domestic and commercial waste materials".

It had originally expected to reopen the road at 17:00 but later said it was the "first time anything like this has happened here and we apologise for the disruption caused to the public following closure of the motorway for safety reasons".

During the afternoon, six fire engines remained at the site, with two aerial ladders and three water carriers in use.

Earlier on Saturday, witnesses reported a strong smell, as well as heavy traffic on the motorway.

"Our colleagues from the Hampshire Fire & Rescue Service are dealing with a large fire at TJ Waste & Recycling," said a police spokesperson on Saturday morning.

"Due to the thick, black smoke they have requested our assistance to close both carriageways of the M275 into and out of Portsmouth, whilst they get the situation under control."

Residents were advised to keep their doors and windows shut.

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