North Sea Programme 2022-2027

The North Sea Programme 2022-2027, including the annex Marine Strategy Part 3 (programme of measures) is an integral part of the National Water Programme (NWP) 2022-2027.

The North Sea Programme 2022-2027 in a nutshell

The North Sea Programme (pdf, 25 MB) is about the spatial layout of the North Sea and achieving good environmental status – in one of the most intensively used seas in the world. The central task for the North Sea Programme 2022-2027 is to find the right social balance in the spatial development of the North Sea. This development must be efficient and safe and fit within the preconditions of a healthy ecosystem.

The programme describes the policy in the field of strengthening the ecosystem, the transition to a sustainable food supply, and the transition to sustainable energy. In addition, policy on shipping, sand extraction, digital connectivity, national security, underwater cultural heritage, recreation, and meteorological information provision is described. The exploration of the Sustainable Blue Economy will be continued until 2027, during which policy options and market opportunities are being elaborated.

The programme also describes the framework for spatial planning arising from the various substantive policy intentions and presents a spatial development strategy map for the period 2022-2027. Part of the spatial planning is the designation of wind farm zones as a first step towards the construction of wind farms. The North Sea Programme designates wind farm zones that are necessary for the realisation of 10.7 GW extra wind energy up to and including 2030, in line with the cabinet's climate targets of at least 55% CO2 reduction by 2030. In the follow-up process, it will be determined in more detail where wind farms will be realised in these areas. In doing so, it is always examined whether the realisation fits within the ecological carrying capacity of the North Sea, and other users of the North Sea such as shipping, fishing, mining and defence are taken into account.

The programme also contains a number of policy and assessment frameworks (including for passage, shared use, activities that require permit, and area explorations and area surveys and area passport guide) and makes guiding statements about artificial islands in the sea. In addition, the North Sea Programme describes the management carried out for this purpose by Rijkswaterstaat. Finally, land-sea interactions are described, the objectives and initiatives with regard to knowledge and monitoring in the North Sea are discussed, and the actions to be carried out during the policy period are summarized.

The Marine Strategy part 3 (pdf, 25 MB) (programme of measures) is an appendix to the North Sea Programme. In order to achieve good environmental status for the descriptors of biodiversity, seabed integrity, litter and underwater noise, additional measures have been determined, supplementary to the already existing measures.

The North Sea Programme - as part of the National Water Programme  - has been adopted under the responsibility of the Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management, the Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, the Minister for Nature and Nitrogen and the Minister for Housing and Spatial Planning, in agreement with the Minister for Climate and Energy and the State Secretary for Economic Affairs and Climate.

Establishment of the programme

For the process of establishing the North Sea Programme and the handling of the advices and opinions received during the design phase, reference is made to the reaction paper (pdf, 5 MB) accompanying the National Water Programme (including the Draft North Sea Programme) and the supplementary reaction paper (pdf, 1.9 MB) on the Supplementary Draft North Sea Programme. A Supplementary SEA and Appropriate assessment have also been drawn up for the designation of wind farm zones in the North Sea Programme.