The Marine Strategy Framework Directive – Programme of Measures

Dominic Pattinson
Head of MSFD Implementation Team, Defra

T: 020 7238 6025

The Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) requires all EU Member States to take measures to achieve Good Environmental Status (GES) in their seas by 2020 and puts in place a framework to allow co-ordinated action across Europe to improve the marine environment. The aims of the MSFD are consistent with the UK Government and Devolved Administrations’ vision of clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas” as set out in the UK Marine Policy Statement.

  • To achieve the MSFD’s objectives Member States must develop Marine Strategies for their seas. These are made up of three main elements
  • an initial assessment of marine waters, definitions of GES and targets and indicators to be used to measure progress towards GES
  • monitoring programmes that will be used to monitor progress against the targets and indicators; and
  • a programme of measures for achieving or maintaining GES

The UK has completed the first two steps through the publication of the UK’s Marine Strategy Parts One and Two. We are now working on the Programme of Measures which needs to have been developed by December 2015 and which will form the Marine Strategy Part Three.

In line with the Marine Policy Statement, the UK Government and Devolved Administrations have put in place and are committed to taking many measures which will improve the state of the UK’s marine environment as part of ensuring sustainable development, most notably through the UK Marine and Coastal Access Act (2009), the Marine (Scotland) Act (2010) and the Marine Act (Northern Ireland) (2013). Equally, measures taken as a result of existing EU legislation, such as the Water Framework Directive (WFD) the Birds and Habitats Directives and the newly reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) also contribute to improving the state of the UK’s marine and coastal environments. These existing and planned measures form the core of our proposed Programme of Measures.

This presentation will explain the approach we have taken in developing our draft Programme of Measures and how we are aiming to meet the requirements of the MSFD.

Related Information:

Further information on the MSFD can be found at:

The consultation will be published at: