Coherent North Sea policy
Policy is developed at national and European levels in numerous fields. Since 2005, the management of the North Sea has been described in the Integrated Management Plan for the North Sea 2015 (pdf: 170 pages). In addition, on 15 July 2008, the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive came into effect and the European Union is developing permanent policy for the North Sea fisheries and to protect the North Sea’s nature. The Netherlands is also adopting a national policy that is important to the North Sea and the protection of the North Sea’s nature. One element of this is the National Water Plan.
National Water Plan
On 12 December 2008 the council of ministers adopted the (draft) National Water Plan. This plan, from the office of the Vice Minister for Transport, Public Works and Water Management, describes the measures necessary to keep the Netherlands safe and habitable in the future. It also considers the best use of the opportunities presented by water. The full policy for the North Sea is included in the (draft) National Water Plan (pdf: 280 pages). This policy provides the general parameters within which the various users of the North Sea will agree how they will share its use. It requires them to show regard for the marine ecosystem when using the North Sea.
Besides the (draft) National Water Plan, the (draft) North Sea policy document (pdf: 54 pages) is also being published. This provides further arguments for and describes in more detail the policy choices in the National Water Plan. While the North Sea policy document can be read as a stand-alone document, it also forms an integral part of the National Water Plan.