The southbound carriageway is shut from junction 25 for Sandiacre, Derbyshire, to junction 24 for Kegworth, Leicestershire, and Ratcliffe on Soar, Nottinghamshire. This junction can also be used for East Midlands Airport, a hub for Ryanair and Jet2.com.
Emergency services have dashed to the scene of a “multi-vehicle accident” near junction 24.
Traffic is back to junction 26, for Nuthall, Nottinghamshire and north Nottingham – an approximate 12 mile stretch.
Drivers are being advised to use alternative routes, including the A610 and A52 around Nottingham, rejoining the motorway at Kegworth.
These roads, and the A50 are congested as a result, Nottinghamshire Live says.
Northbound traffic is slow on the approach to the accident. Congestion is back to the A42 link at junction 23A, which is near the airport.
Leicestershire Police Tweeted: “A road closure has been put in place due to a police incident.
“Please find an alternative route. Updates to follow.”
It is unclear if there any injuries in the crash however paramedics from Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire are present.
The M1 moves northwards past Nottingham and links traffic from the Midlands to the north of England, going through South Yorkshire, around Sheffield and eventually into West Yorkshire.
A serious crash shut a large stretch of the same motorway last week, further south in Northamptonshire. An air ambulance had to land to take injured people to hospital following the shunt near junction Toddington and Harlington.
It involved an overturned lorry.
Local roads through Woburn and Milton Bryan were busy as traffic left the motorway at junction 13.
Some northbound drivers left at junction 11a to use the A5 through Houghton Regis, Bedfordshire, and nearby Hockliffe.