Mark is 58 years old and lives in Rochdale with his wife and two cats. He attended school, college and university, where he studied both information technology and as a teacher. Mark has three daughters (including twins) and four grandchildren, one of whom is autistic. Mark is proud to have been selected to represent the residents of Balderstone and Kirkholt by Rochdale Liberal Democrats.
Mark Alcock has vast experience as a councillor and has helped thousands of residents having served eight years on Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council – holding the environment & infrastructure portfolio and as a parish councillor on Shaw and Crompton parish council. Prior to that, Mark served eight years on South Ribble Borough Council and Farington Parish Council. He has also served as GMP representative, getting more police funding to the areas he represents.
His youngest daughter is a qualified midwife, his sister in law, a ward supervisor and brother in law, a consultant surgeon. With this much NHS experience close to hand, he has inside knowledge of the problems at our hospitals and he will work to make sure that our residents get the services and health facilities that our area needs.
Mark has had a varied work history, working in a variety of jobs from farming, milkman, wagon driver, cleaner, forklift driver, miller and driller, shop manager, sales rep, IT trainer, and production worker and lately selling Sky TV. You will see Mark out and about at the Trafford Centre and Arndale amongst other places! When not working, Mark likes to spend his limited spare time with his wife, his daughters, grandchildren and watching sport.
He is not a career politician, he has had a good mix of the real challenges that many of the people living in Rochdale have encountered. This includes the stressful process of being made redundant more than once. He believes that these experiences help him when he represents the people of Balderstone and Kirkholt who put their trust in him.
Mark’s Manifesto for Balderstone and Kirkholt
Mark is already working and will continue to work improve our area by:
Reversing the Labour councils plans to build on our greenfields
To STOP Fracking for gas under our homes
- Getting potholes filled across our area
- Having rubbish removed
- Working to stop bikers damaging Balderstone Park and to work to improve the park
- Stopping speeding traffic in several locations
- Alleviating flooding in numerous areas
- Working to get more places and resources at our local schools
- Protecting of the green belt around Thornham and New Broad Lane and across our area
- Pushing ahead with regeneration of the central core of the Kirkholt estate – including new shopping precinct and new medical centre and improvements to the library
- An increase in youth provision around the Kirkholt estate
- Listening to people’s concerns and issues
- Advising and assisting with school appeals
- Assisting with planning problems
- Supporting constituents with housing and homelessness problems
- Helping with council tax issues
- Clamping down on dog fouling and stray dogs
Date published: 20 December 2018 – Rochdale Online
Frack Free Kirkholt and Balderstone
An anti-fracking campaign has been launched by local Liberal Democrats.
Lib Dem campaigns officer for Balderstone and Kirkholt, Mark Alcock, and the party launched the campaign – FRACK FREE Kirkholt, Balderstone and Rochdale – after becoming aware a Petroleum Exploration and Development Licence had been granted.
Hydraulic fracturing – or fracking – is a process used to extract gas locked in rock formations thousands of metres below the Earth’s surface.
A mixture of chemicals, sand and water is injected deep underground at high pressure to fracture the rocks and release shale gas: this can happen anywhere in the licence area.
The controversial process has been linked to earthquakes, groundwater pollution, and gas and chemical leaks, amongst other detrimental effects, such as the wells used blighting the environment.
A Petroleum Exploration and Development Licence (PEDL) to explore the ‘SD81’ block of land under Whitworth, Norden, Heywood, Castleton and the majority of Rochdale, including Balderstone and Kirkholt,) was granted in September 2016.
PEDLs grant exclusivity to the licence owner – oil and gas exploration & production company Hutton Energy PLC Ltd, and their equity holders, Coronation (Oil and Gas) Ltd – to allow them to explore and extract hydrocarbons (including shale gas, shown in blue on the map) until 2049.
The licence itself does not grant automatic permission for investigative operations.
Planning permission and environmental permits must be given before any drilling, fracking or production can take place.
Mr Alcock said: “We can’t let the government and the fracking industry just walk into our area and start fracking with all the issues that causes.
“I have real concerns that fracking will have detrimental effects, but I’ve been accused of being a ‘nimby’ for opposing fracking in our area.”
He added: “Shale gas is neither needed nor wanted. The UK government’s commitment to go all out for shale gas and impose this on the people of Kirkholt, Balderstone and Rochdale is wrong and particularly to impose the risks on the people in our area, is nothing short of crazy.
“I believe that local people fighting fracking have well-founded concerns for our health and our local environment, based on evidence from countries like the US and Australia.
“The French and Bulgarian Governments and the US state of Vermont have banned it, the National Trust has a presumption against it on National Trust land, and the United Nations Environment Program says even if fracking is done properly, it may cause unavoidable environmental impacts.”
Leader of the Lib Dems, Councillor Andy Kelly has fully backed the local campaign, saying: “It’s just wrong that fracking is being imposed on our area without the public having a say in it.”
John Searle, Director of Economy at Rochdale Borough Council said: “In common with other Greater Manchester Councils, policy regarding the determination of planning applications for mineral or other exploration is set out within the Greater Manchester Minerals Plan and is not contained within the council’s own development plan.
“To date there have been no planning applications submitted for the purposes of fracking or exploratory drilling within the borough.
“However, any planning applications would be advertised widely and would be dealt with in accordance with relevant local and national planning policies applicable at that time.”
Councillor Kelly is also to ask the leader of Rochdale Borough Council, Allen Brett, what he thinks of a report that Greater Manchester Pension Fund (GMPF) is investing £1 billion in fracking and fossil fuel companies.
The GMPF is the UK’s biggest local authority pension fund and has over £1.2 billion directly invested in fossil fuel companies that engage in fracking, coal mining and oil and gas extraction.
The Fund’s annual report showed that they invested in Schlumberger Holdings, the company drilling for shale gas on behalf of Cuadrilla in Lancashire.
Councillor Kelly added: “I think this is unethical as the council should not be investing in these controversial industries: this could also put the council in conflict if it was to oppose any fracking applications that come forward for our area.
“You can’t be investing in fracking and opposing it at the same time.”
At Cuadrilla’s site on the Fylde coast, where fracking for shale started for the first time in seven years on 15 October, reports of over 30 earth tremors measuring up to 1.1 on the Richter scale occurred within the first 14 days.
On 11 December, nine tremors were detected at the same site within 90 minutes, with the largest tremor measuring a magnitude of 1.5, the largest detected at the site since monitoring began, according to the BGS database.
Addressing the tremors, a spokesperson for Cuadrilla said: “This occurred after hydraulic fracturing had finished for the day. According to recent research by the University of Liverpool, the impact [of the 1.5 tremor] would be like dropping a melon.
“Micro seismic events such as these result in tiny movements that are way below anything that would be felt at surface, much less cause any harm or damage. Without the sophisticated monitoring in place at Cuadrilla, they would not be detected.”
Cuadrilla paused and continued to monitor micro seismicity for at least the next 18 hours, in line with regulations. Well integrity was checked and verified.
Hutton Energy and the Greater Manchester Pensions Fund have been contacted for comment.
Biggest earth tremor yet since fracking began in Lancashire left residents across a wide area of Fylde shocked and angry on Monday morning.
The latest micro seismic event, rated by the British Geological Survey at 2.9ML following another on Saturday night recorded at 2.1 ML, was felt as far afield as parts of Blackpool, St Annes, Warton, Wesham, Weeton and Wrea Green.
Fracking firm Cuadrilla has confirmed it was not hydraulically fracturing at the time and says it is investigating the cause of the tremor.
Gordon Marsden, MP for Blackpool South, has pledged to raise the issue with the environment minister and is to demand a statement on the matter in the house when Parliament resumes after the summer break
Stephen Collier, who lives at Langdale Road at Mereside, Blackpool,. said: “There was a big rumble which went on for about five seconds – the whole house shook.”
Sandra Ball, who lives in Knarebrough Avenue, near Blackpool’s Stanley Park, said: “My house is a good few miles away from the fracking site, but it was shaking – do they want houses actually collapsing before this ridiculous fiasco is stopped?”
Michael Ducker, who lives just off Midgeland Road, Marton, said: “I am extremely worried. I have a newborn baby in the house and I’m scared to leave my fiance and baby and go to work.
“If anything happens to my house or family I will sue the Government and Cuadrilla for every penny I can.
“The Government’s decision (to allow fracking) and Cuadrilla’s actions are literally shaking the foundations of my new build house and who knows what kind of damage it is causing. They need to be stopped now.”
Andy Courtney, from Warton, said: “There was no damage but a significant audible rumble.
“We are about four or five miles from the fracking site in Warton.
“My daughter in Wrea Green also contacted me immediately afterwards to ask if I’d felt that.”
Stephen Lightfoot said: “We live in the Cartmell Road area of St. Annes, and the whole house shook sideways with a loud rumbling noise, all lasting around five seconds or so; but quite frightening nonetheless.”
A resident of Redwood Drive in the Whitehills area of Marton, said: “Our house was shaking and I even felt the footpath move under my feet.
“We only moved in two weeks ago. This is really unsettling and getting a bit ridiculous after that one the other night.”
Mr Marsden said: “It’s very disturbing that this has happened.
“I have had many residents across Blackpool contacting and tweeting me this morning following the tremor.
“The Government has allowed this fracking to commence again and they now need to put a hold on the fracking at Preston New Road to allow an investigation to take place.
“I heard that Cuadrilla were calling the tremor the same as a toddler playing on the floor. I don’t know how many toddlers they think can rattle windows and shake wardrobes from just playing on the floor.
“I will be writing a letter to the new Environment Minister demanding an inquiry into these tremors and when Parliament returns I will be demanding a statement from the Government as well.”
Saturday’s 2.1 ML micro seismic event came after tremors of 1.05 at Preston New Road, Litttle Plumpton on Friday night and another measuring 0.53 on Saturday morning.
Any tremor measuring 0.5 or above means fracking must be temporarily stopped.
Cuadrilla has asked for the safety limits to be increased so it can operate more effectively.
A spokesman for Cuadrilla said: “We’re aware of a seismic event at 8.30am (on Monday).
“We can confirm that no hydraulic fracturing was being carried out at the time and none has been carried out over the weekend.
Rochdale Market as the rain comes down
Mark Alcock and Rochdale Liberal Democrats are calling on the Labour Council to act decisively on the markets before the situation descends into farce.
The Labour Council didn’t listen to advice and has tried to relaunch the market on the cheap and it has failed.
Flimsy gazebos with no proper water or power were obviously going to fail and traders are walking away. Who can blame them?
This is Rochdale, not the South of France and the market should have been designed in a semi-covered area with proper structures not something that resembles a waterlogged summer fete.
The Labour Council should accept that they didn’t listen to advice and should now go to the developers of the new shopping centre with designs for a market that complements their scheme and which will provide a high quality setting for traders. We are confident that the developers will understand that a vibrant market together with major chain stores is a compelling reason for people to visit Rochdale and will want to invest in a market that does Rochdale proud.
Rochdale must have a diverse, quality shopping offer to compete but the Labour Council has chosen the cheapest solution and are now learning the hard way that quality and cheap are two very different things.
We as Rochdale resident’s deserve better from our Council and how they spend OUR Council Tax.
Kirkholt and Balderstone residents please be aware …..
We received several reports early yesterday morning, 7 January, of males trying vehicles doors and looking into properties on Falrands Rise, Ginnell Farm Ave/Daisy House Close, Gilbrook Way, Black Chapel Drive and Broad Lane areas. These are occurring overnight and in the early hours of the morning.
Please remove anything of value from your vehicle(s) and ensure your property doors are locked and windows are shut and keys are hidden out of view.
Please be vigilant and report any suspicious circumstances to 101 as soon as you possibly can.
You can also report something electronically by visiting www.gmp.police.uk and click on the ‘chat to us now’ caption at the bottom right hand corner and follow the instructions. You will be communicating with Officers in GMP’s Control Room.
We are aware and have increased patrols into the areas of concern. Please be rest assured we are doing everything in our power to apprehend those responsible and bring them to justice.
We must however continue to encourage you to inform us of any suspicious behaviour
published by LEP Tuesday 11 December 2018
The Caudrilla fracking site at Preston New Road, Little Plumpton.
A tremor measuring 1.5 magnitude has forced Cuadrilla to halt fracking at the Lancashire site. The British Geological Survey (BGS) recorded a series of tremors this morning at the controversial fracking site at Preston New Road, Little Plumpton.
The exact location of the tremors, according to the British Geological Survey.
Nine tremors were detected at the site within 90 minutes this morning, with the latest tremor measuring a magnitude of 1.5ML. Regulations state that fracking must be halted if tremors exceed 0.5ML. According to the BGS database, the 1.5 magnitude tremor is the largest detected at the site since monitoring began. It has been claimed the tremor was felt in the Blackpool area.
The nine tremors recorded today are also the most recorded at the site in a single day.
The earlier eight tremors measured magnitudes between – 0.4 and 0.0, between 9.35am and 10.18am this morning. But the latest 1.5ML tremor, which occurred at 11.21am, exceeds the maximum magnitude allowed for fracking. Caudrilla has now been forced to take immediate action and halt fracking at the site for 18 hours.
A quake measuring a magnitude of – 0.3 was also recorded at the site yesterday. They are the latest in a series of minor tremors since Cuadrilla began fracking at the site in October, after spending two years exploring the site. Cuadrilla issued a statement in response to the 1.5ML (local magnitude) micro seismic event detected within their Lancashire operational area this morning.
A spokesman for Cuadrilla said: “A series of micro seismic events in Blackpool have been recorded on the British Geological Survey website this morning following hydraulic fracturing at our shale gas exploration site in Preston New Road, Lancashire.
“The largest recorded was 1.5ML (local magnitude) at about 11.20am. This occurred after hydraulic fracturing had finished for the day.
“According to recent research by the University of Liverpool the impact would be like dropping a melon.
“A series of smaller micro seismic events occurred during hydraulic fracturing, beginning at about 9.40am.“Cuadrilla will pause and continue to monitor micro seismicity for at least the next 18 hours, in line with the traffic light system regulations. Well integrity has been checked and verified.”
READ MORE: Fracking halted again as biggest earthquake yet recorded at Lancashire site Tony Bosworth, a Friends of the Earth campaigner, reacted to news of the largest earthquake to take place in Lancashire since fracking started. He said: “Within a day of Cuadrilla re-starting fracking in Lancashire, there has already been another earthquake which means they’ve had to down tools.
“It appears that they cannot frack without triggering tremors. And instead of acknowledging that fracking needs to end, Cuadrilla are instead urging for regulations around earthquakes to be relaxed.
“We’ve always said that fracking poses risks for our climate and environment. After today’s quake, and with the effects of climate breakdown already happening around us, isn’t it time to put a stop to fracking once and for all?
”Cuadrilla is obliged to stop fracking for 18 hours if a quake of more than magnitude 0.5 is detected, which has happened several times since October.
Councils in Greater Manchester are investing £1 billion into the fracking industry, the Liberal Democrats have revealed.
Manchester Council is a leading member in a regionwide £1bn investment into the fracking industry, despite a policy opposing the controversial drilling.
The region’s councils invested more half a billion pounds into global fracking giants BP and Shell, whilst companies like Statoil, Exxon, Chevron also received hundreds of millions each.
A total of 6% of the £17bn pension fund went into fracking, making it the second largest investment by proportion of its fund but the largest overall investment in the country,
Public support for fracking has been consistently low, with the recent polls suggesting just 18% of people in the UK support the drilling.
But a 2014 poll run by the Manchester Evening News found that 73% of Greater Manchester residents opposed fracking.
Despite this, Greater Manchester Labour Councils are supporting the fracking industry by investing nearly £1bn into it.
In the last full Manchester council meeting, Labour refused Lib Dem Cllr John Leech’s questions to clarify their position on the investment.
The revelation follows the Government’s recent decision to allow fracking in the UK, with Cuadrilla the first company to begin the controversial practice on the Fylde.
Commenting on the shocking investment, Mark Alcock said:
“Fracking is widely unpopular across the country and in Manchester, some polls even indicate that up to 80% of local people oppose it.
“Climate change is the single biggest threat we face and rather than leading the fight for our environment, Labour councils in Greater Manchester are investing in the most unpopular, dirtiest and most damaging industry imaginable.
“Imagine the difference this £1bn could make if redirected into renewable and clean energy.
“Liberal Democrats take the fight for environment seriously and this revelation is another example of Labour’s stranglehold on Greater Manchester and why electing Liberal Democrat Councillors in Rochdale and across the region is more important than ever.”
LEST WE FORGET – Wear your Poppy with PRIDE
Today, tomorrow, wear your Poppy with pride for the sacrifices so many of our service personal have made in the past and are making today and everyday in OUR name – show your support by wearing your poppy with pride!!!!
Rochdale Remembrance Sunday parade and service
Sunday, 11 November 2018
ALL WELCOME TO ATTEND to show your appreciation and support
10.15am: meet on Yorkshire Street at the St Marys Gate End.
10.45am: the parade will depart to the Cenotaph by heading down Yorkshire Street and on to The Esplanade.
10.45am: ward councillors, magistrates, officers and other civic guests will assemble in the Town Hall Exchange.
10.50am: the Mayor, Chief Executive, MP, Leader of the Council, Opposition Leader and Church leaders will leave the main entrance of the town hall for the Service at the Cenotaph. At the end of the march, the Mayoral Party will return to the town hall and the parade will go to Packer Street.
12midday: Rochdale will commemorate the centenary of the end of World One War One with a carousel, swing boats and other family entertainment.