THE green light has been give to a £4m strategy to introduce mandatory 20mph speed limits in residential areas across Inverclyde.

After a lengthy discussion at a meeting of the environment and regeneration committee, councillors backed an action plan to limit speeds in areas with heavy foot traffic, following a lengthy campaign by Port Glasgow councillors Chris Curley and Jim MacLeod.

The committee agreed to the principle of delivering a 20mph restriction within town and village centres.

Members also agreed that, following assessment of each school location, part-time 20mph limits would be instituted in 2023/24.

Speed surveys will be carried out throughout the area to establish where limits should be introduced and in what order.

Officials will then develop a prioritisation scheme to score and rank areas which will be submitted to councillors seeking their approval.

The estimated cost of the whole project is £4.735m which would include the completion of surveys, preparation and promotion of legal orders and implementation of traffic calming, signs and lines.

On top of that, there would be ongoing maintenance costs of around £30,000 per year for the council.

Councillor Curley said he had hoped the final plan would be 'more ambitious' as he attempted to change the wording of the recommendations made by roads chiefs.

He said: “I welcome the direction of travel but I would like it to be a bit more ambitious. 

“With respect to the costs, they also seem very large.”

Councillors agreed to the original recommendations by seven votes to four.

Regeneration and planning chief Stuart Jamieson said he was 'extremely nervous' about setting specific timescales as the council had a 'very limited budget' at this stage and would need to seek further funding.

Council leader Stephen McCabe said: “It might not be as ambitious as Chris wants but to actually implement 20mph zones across Inverclyde is a huge project which will take quite some time to do.

“My [Labour] group is supportive in principle in increasing the number of zones. We have seen some in the time of this council and we would like to see more but this is a huge undertaking and there may be some objections to 20mph zones.

“I don’t think we should underestimate the challenge.

"This is a good start but there is that big issue about funding.”

Veteran road safety activist Councillor MacLeod says he is pleased that his push for a 20mph rule had paid off.

He said: “It’s good that we’re looking at village and town centres.

“Many of them were built when there weren’t as many cars on the road.

"It’s really not safe to be driving on residential roads at more than 20mph.”