§ Norman Lamb
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the threshold score will be for securing funding from her Department for sea defence and flood alleviation schemes in the next period for which a threshold is set. 
§ Mr. Morley
[holding answer 3 November 2003]: In general, in order to be approved for grant aid, proposed schemes must satisfy the Department's economic, environmental and technical criteria and achieve a minimum threshold priority score which is set annually at around this time for the following financial year. Changes to the threshold do not affect schemes which have already been approved.
The threshold for projects to start in 2003–04 is 22 (out of a maximum possible score of 44). The Department is still analysing operating authority returns detailing their funding requirements for 2004–05 but I hope to be in a position to announce the threshold score for 2004–05 shortly.