An announcement that Waltham Forest Council would not allow fracking in the borough has been branded reckless and arrogant by an opposition Conservative councillor.

Cllr Clyde Loakes, Labour cabinet member for environment, said he had ‘no intention’ of allowing testing for shale gas because it could “compromise the safety” of residents.

But the statement has been criticised by Conservative councillor John Moss, who supports the move to test for shale gas across the ccountry.

He said: "My concern about the statement made by Cllr Loakes was that it appears to be a unilateral declaration made by him, which he has no authority to make.

"The arrogance of this man is staggering and to make an announcement on behalf of the council without it being consulted is reckless to say the least."

Cllr Moss said, although fracking would have been extremely unlikely to happen in the borough, he welcomes the potential benefits of creating jobs and reducing CO2 emissions.

"If the UK had the same property rights as the US, I would allow drilling in my own back garden,” he added.

"I am very much in favour of a secure, UK-based source of gas which is much cleaner than coal and oil and more reliable than gas from unstable countries such as Qatar or Russia.

"Hydraulic fracturing would be governed by the strictest safety regime and would have the potential to create thousands of jobs and reduce our co2 emissions."

Many people believe fracking can cause earthquakes and is damaging to the environment.

And Councillor Loakes dismissed the criticism of his position.

He said: “"I am the cabinet member for environment and it is my job to speak about environmental issues.

"There has been no definitive decision made because there has been no application put forward and besides this would not stop me from expressing the position of the council as it stands."

"I am the portfolio holder and the right person to do it, just as opposition members are entitled to oppose the position."