To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many rural flood defence projects are funded by the priority scoring system.
Defra's priority is to maximise the protection of people and assets in relation to the funding available. While there is no bias in the priority score system against rural projects, it is however true that projects are less likely to go ahead in sparsely populated areas as these will tend to score less highly than projects which protect larger numbers of people or higher asset values for a given cost. Most of the components making up the priority score of a given project are compared to cost so the crucial measurement is on benefits per unit cost and not on the absolute benefits of proposals. This ensures smaller projects are considered on an equal footing to larger ones.
We do not classify projects by urban or rural location and often the distinction will not be clear. We could not seek to gather this information without incurring disproportionate cost. As explained in my letter of