Councillors have slammed the brakes on proposals to introduce a 20mph speed limit across Moray’s towns and villages – because it would cost too much.
The authority’s SNP group had urged the local authority to investigate the prospect of rolling out the lower limit in residential parts of the county to make people safer.
But members of the Tory-Independent administration group stopped the move on financial grounds.
Local authority boss, George Alexander, said installing signs alone would cost £2.5million.
Speyside Glenlivet councillor Louise Laing spearheaded the drive – saying that she had taken to driving around at 20mph in recent weeks as a way of testing the proposal.
She said: “For three weeks I made a point of staying at 20mph in town, it felt slow at first but when I went back to 30mph I felt I was going too fast to react to any hazards.
“I have heard from people in Lossiemouth, Aberlour, Rothes and Portgordon who want these limits rolled out beyond just being in place at some schools.
“People should feel safe when walking and cycling in their towns.
“The 30mph limit was set in 1934 when there was substantially fewer cars on the road.”
Ms Laing added that she had recently learned of nerve-jangling near-misses involving a boy and a pensioner.
She was backed by her nationalist colleague, David Bremner, who said that 20mph should be the area’s “default limit”.
The Fochabers Lhanbryde councillor added: “We are only asking for some analysis on the costing of this.”
However, council leader George Alexander said he was left “dumbfounded” by the suggestion.
He said: “It would cost £2.5million just to put up the signs required, over a five-year period.
“We would be asking our officers to put in work on something that we know is not going to happen because it is not financially possible.
“Every one of us has the choice to drive slower.”
Conservative councillor for Elgin City North, Frank Brown, added: “This is jumping on a populist bandwagon.”
A vote on the matter was tied at 12-12, but council convener James Allan used his deciding vote to reject it.
Mrs Laing responded that the appeal was not politically motivated.
She said: “I live in Rothes and we have seen this problem getting worse and worse over the years.”