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There will be a by-election in North Yorkshire Council’s Sowerby and Topcliffe division in just a few weeks’ time on Thursday 30 November. This follows the resignation of Dave Whitfield (Green Party), who was elected in May 2022 but has had to step down for health reasons.

We’d like to take this opportunity to send best wishes to Dave Whitfield on behalf of Thirsk FoE.

Six candidates are standing for election

ELDERS, Dave (Conservative Party )

EXOTIC, Stew (The Official Monster Raving Loony Party)

HALL, John Philip (Yorkshire Party)

LAW, John Timothy (Green Party)

SLADDEN, Dan (Liberal Democrats)

TOMLINSON, Helen Kathleen (Labour Party)


Whichever candidate is elected will be responsible for representing the local interests of Sowerby and Topcliffe residents. That includes working to protect and enhance our natural environment (e.g. around Cod Beck) and, more widely, together with other councillors, overseeing the Council’s climate strategy, the local nature recovery strategy and the local transport plan, all of which will have a big climate and environmental impact.

In the run-up to the by-election, to ensure that voters have the information they need, we’re keen to highlight where the candidates stand on both local and wider environmental issues (e.g. Cod Beck, other green spaces, river quality,  NYC climate policy, footpaths, public transport, planning, energy, cycling infrastructure, litter …) and would like to offer them an opportunity to outline their views here.

Use the drop-down menu to see responses from individual candidates. If you have any specific questions for candidates, either post on our Facebook group (Thirsk Friends of the Earth) or page (Friends of the Earth Thirsk) or email  


ALL the by-election candidates (including the Official Monster Raving Loony candidate) have now provided information about their views on local and wider environmental issues for our Thirsk FoE website at Take a look!

That includes issues such as cycle lanes, green spaces (especially Cod Beck and the Calvert’s planning application), the Local Nature Recovery Strategy, public transport and support for local businesses and farmers to transition to net zero.

Sowerby and Topcliffe residents will of course consider a whole range of other issues when deciding which candidate to vote for, e.g. health, education, jobs, housing, etc.

According to one national opinion poll, however, climate and environmental issues are a top-three issue for 29% of voters. In a Survation poll in September, ‘Environment and Climate Change’ was the fourth most important issue that respondents said would influence how they voted in the next election. See headline results in the image below and click the image to see the full report.

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