The 2016-2021 North Sea Policy Document

The North Sea occupies a special place in the Dutch water system. On the North Sea, a large number of (user) functions must be assessed so that the best use can be made of the limited space.

Kyte-vliegers op het noordzeestrand

The current 2016-2021 North Sea Policy Document (pdf, 26 MB) offers integral frameworks for the use of space on the North Sea. It also contains a summary of the Programme of measures for the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (Marine Strategy for the Dutch part of the North Sea 2012-2020, part 3) (pdf, 4.1 MB). These two policy documents are part of the 2016-2021 National Water Plan (NWP2) (pdf, 17 MB).

The Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment instigated the process that produced this new policy document. Central government agencies, local governments, international parties and users of the North Sea have all helped to update the policy.

The 2016-2021 North Sea Policy Document evaluates the policy choices in the previous policy document, describes the current situation on the North Sea, maps out the developments for the years to come and records the policy choices for the upcoming planning period.

The North Sea Policy Document describes three societal demands that require a new policy.

  • MSFD Programme of measures
  • Offshore wind energy
  • Sand extraction strategy

Other subjects covered in the North Sea Policy Document include oil and gas extraction, shipping, defence exercise areas, CO2 storage, tourism and recreation and underwater cultural heritage. It also pays specific attention to the interaction between land and sea and international cooperation.

The 2050 North Sea Spatial Agenda has been recorded as a long-term vision and the policy document specifies which activities will be undertaken in the period 2016-2021 in order to achieve this goal.

Assessment framework

An assessment framework describes how assessments are made for all permit applications for designated uses on the North Sea. Based on this framework, choices can be made about how the space on the North Sea is used.
An action programme provides an insight into the activities that will be undertaken to realise the policy choices.

Documents and publications

Policy Document on the North Sea 2016-2021 - including the Netherlands’ Maritime Spatial Plan (download)

Policy Document on the North Sea 2016-2021 - including the Netherlands’ Maritime Spatial Plan (screen version)