The Environment Agency has a points based system to work out which flood defences schemes should get funding.
Smaller communities lose out on spending for flood defences
The system, which is set down by DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), is designed to give priority to the schemes that offer the greatest benefits.
For a scheme to get the green light it needs to score highly in three target areas. They are:
Economic- -20 points. This compares the financial benefits of a proposed flood defence set against the cost of building and maintaining it over its lifespan.
People - 12 points. This is based on the number of houses protected for every £1,000 spent on the project and for schemes that protect vulnerable people, or areas where there is a risk of rapid, potentially life-threatening flooding.
Environment - 12 points. Projects that help meet the government's Biodiversity Action Plan targets.
According to a recently published National Audit Office report the bar for getting funding under this priority points scheme has risen significantly over the past few years because of the increasing competition for funds.
The report revealed that 28 schemes costing £122m have been approved for funding since April 2005 - but the money is yet to be made available.
It also pointed out that smaller rural communities which flood, often do not score highly and hence are unlikely to qualify, because of the comparatively small numbers of homes and people at risk.