BOLTON Council has refused to say it will ban fracking outright in the borough.

Council leader Cliff Morris was quizzed on the ruling group’s stance on the controversial method of shale gas extraction at Wednesday night’s full council meeting.

It followed an announcement from the national Labour party at its conference last month, which stated that a Labour government would ban the process in the UK.

Last year, Cllr Morris said that the council would seek to block fracking applications on land owned by the authority, ‘as a starting point’.

During the meeting, UKIP Cllr Paul Richardson asked the leader whether recent events had led him to change his stance.

He responded: “We said previously that we opposed fracking on our own land as a starting point.

“Our national party has said that it would ban it if it gets into power and so be it for them to say that, but we sometimes disagree with them on things.

“It is still a matter of where fracking applications are made on our land we will ban them.

“But for other applications we will look at each of them on their own merit and look at what is needed.”

Much of Bolton has been earmarked for potential fracking in the future.