MINISTERS will be told councillors in the town must have the 'final say' over any future planning applications for fracking.

A motion put forward by the Liberal Democrats – which opposed Government changes to the planning rules on shale gas extraction, known as fracking – was carried during Monday's full council meeting.

It was proposed by Cllr Brian Axcell, who is an energy engineer, and seconded by Cllr Ryan Bate, the party's parliamentary candidate for Warrington South.

It notes local authorities and residents are ‘best placed’ to make decisions throughout the planning process.

Cllr Axcell says removing the need to submit planning applications for exploratory drilling, prior to fracking, will reduce 'local democratic scrutiny'.

Cllr Russ Bowden, leader of the Labour-run council, will now write to ministers to outline the authority's objections to the proposals.

Cllr Bate told members in the chamber the town's elected representatives should have the 'final say' over fracking-related decisions.

He added that a national framework is needed on the controversial practice but, in light of the climate crisis, believes the framework should 'say no to fracking'.

Cllr Judith Guthrie, cabinet member for environment and public protection, said the motion could make 'very little impact' but urged the Labour group to support it 'in the interests' of Warrington.

No fracking has been taking place in the town but planning permission exists at three locations for activities related to the extraction of unconventional gas.

The Doe Green site in Penketh is operational for the extraction of coal bed methane, while land in Woolston, which is adjacent to the M6 junction 21, was granted planning permission for the exploration of boreholes in 2010.

Land off Waterworks Lane in Winwick also has planning permission.

However, if any of these sites wished to convert to fracking, they would need additional planning permission.