THE leader of a borough's Tory group has publicly declared his opposition to fracking for shale gas.

Cllr John Slater told Blackburn with Darwen's full Council Forum: "I am totally opposed to fracking.

"I never want to see fracking in this borough.

"I will fight it tooth and nail.""

He told the meeting last week had had made his vews known to government ministers.

Cllr Slater spoke out as energy firm Cuadrilla prepares to starting fracking at at the UK’s first horizontal shale gas well at its Preston New Road site near Blackpool this week.

In 2013 a study by the British Geological Survey established that much of East Lancashire the M65 corridor north of Blackburn through Burnley to Colne and down the Rossendale valley was sitting on reserves of shale gas.

Cllr Slater, who leads Blackburn with Darwen Council's Tory opposition group, made his comments after the borough's Labour boss Cllr Mohammed Khan warned that proposed government changes to planning rules for fracking could strip local authorities of their powers to decide controversial schemes.

Cllr Slater said her shared those concerns.