This website is no longer being updated. Please go to GOV.SCOT

marine planning

These pages are no longer being updated. Any updates will be published in the Marine Planning section on

Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD)

The European Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) became part of UK legislation on 15 July 2010. The Directive requires Member States to prepare national strategies to manage their seas to achieve Good Environmental Status (GES) by 2020. Major emphasis is placed on international co-operation.

Key requirements of the Directive are:

  • an assessment of the current state of UK seas
  • a detailed description of what GES means for UK waters, with a set of associated targets and indicators

The two elements (above) were published in the Marine Strategy Part 1 on 20 December 2012.

The  Marine Strategy Part Two was published on 05 August 2014. This provides a description of the UK’s MSFD marine monitoring programmes.

Marine Strategy Part Three – Programme of Measures

A Programme of Measures to enable us to achieve or maintain GES must be established by end 2015 and fully implemented by the end of 2016. We have been working collaboratively with the other UK Governments to develop our first UK Programme of Measures. A joint consultation took place on 30 January 2015 and closed on 24 April 2015. The government response to the consultation and the full UK Marine Strategy Part Three have now been published.

Next Steps

The next step is to ensure the measures published in Part Three of the UK Marine Strategy are implemented by the end of 2016.

MSFD is a cyclical process and in 2018 there will be a second assessment of the status of our seas. We will be able to see if our measures are enabling us to achieve or maintain Good Environmental Status in our waters by 2020. An updated Marine Strategy Part One will be published in 2018 following a public consultation in 2017.