Conservative members of Suffolk County Council were accused of stifling a debate on road safety by putting the brakes on efforts to lower speed limits.

The opposition Green, Liberal Democrat and Independent group tried to get councillors to back a proposed speed reduction on country lanes.

At present where there isn't a formal speed limit - mainly in towns and villages - cars can be driven at up to 60mph.

The opposition had proposed that local communities could ask the council to impose lower speed limits in their parishes if they did not believe roads are safe.

However after Green Councillor Robert Lindsay proposed the motion, the Conservative group proposed that it should proceed directly to a vote - ending the debate before it had started.

Mr Lindsay said:"We want to empower communities to use local knowledge to get the right speed limit for all our roads.

"I find it shameful that Suffolk's Conservative administration is prepared to borrow £10 million to spend on potholes, but is refusing to spend a single penny on reviewing our speed limit policy on our roads.

"It is doubly disappointing that the Conservatives used a procedural device to prevent debate about this vital issue."

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council, said: “The national 60mph speed limit for single carriageway roads is not a target speed and it is the responsibility of the driver to drive appropriate to the conditions, considering weather and other road users, such as walkers, cyclists and equestrians.

“The national speed limit covers such a wide range of roads and local circumstances.  It puts the onus on the driver to make a judgement on the appropriate speed for a given situation.

“However, we recognise that in some circumstances lower speed limits are appropriate and will be supported when backed up by suitable evidence.”