Does supporting expansion make you sick?

Mother Tabbinskins

Yesterday's papers carried the unsurprising news that living under a flight path can lead to increased stress and noise-related illness. But can supporting the third runway make you ill? We sent our roving reporter Dee Locke undercover at two governmental departments, to find out.

"I checked out the Department for Transport", says Dee, "and found that their staff were un-naturally ill. Staff at the DfT took an average of 12.4 sick days last year, compared to 9.1 for the Civil Service average. That's pretty high, leading us to suspect that the extra days could come from the stress of dealing with constant phone calls from angry residents and super-glue blockades of their offices."

Dee then snuck into Defra's offices, and chatted to a number of staff there. "Defra was clearly stressed out about climate change, particularly how their colleagues at Marsham Street were pressing ahead with madcapped plans for airport expansion. But their rate of absence was notably lower, at 7.1 days each a year.

"Are Defra more dedicated to their jobs, or is support for airport expansion making transport officials ill? The evidence is inconclusive, so I'll state unequivocably that I have no idea."