North Sea Programme 2022-2027

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

A brief outline of the North Sea Programme 2022-2027

The programme highlights how the North Sea is partitioned and how to achieve good environmental status in one of the most intensively used seas in the world. It also describes the management that Rijkswaterstaat conducts to this end.

The central challenge for the planning period 2022-2027 is to strike the right social balance in the spatial development of the North Sea. That development must be efficient and safe, and the various functions and activities must also be in line with the preconditions for a healthy ecosystem.
The programme describes the policy for bolstering the ecosystem, the transition to sustainable food supply and the transition to sustainable energy provision. In addition, it highlights policy on maritime shipping, sand extraction, digital connectivity, national security, underwater cultural heritage, recreation and the provision of meteorological information. Investigations for the Sustainable blue economy will continue in the planning period, with policy options and market opportunities being developed in the interim.

Designation of wind farm zones

The North Sea Programme also describes the framework for spatial planning that is in line with the policy intentions and presents a structural vision map for the period 2022-2027. One aspect of spatial planning is the designation of wind farm zones, the first step on the road to the construction of wind farms. These new areas are necessary if we are to achieve the extra 10.7 GW of wind energy that is needed to hit the government's climate target of at least a 55 per cent CO2 reduction in 2030 (this challenge in the North Sea Programme 2022-2027 was scaled up in mid 2022 - ed.).
The next part of the process is to determine where these wind farm zones will figure in these new areas. We are constantly assessing whether creation is matched by the ecological carrying capacity of the North Sea, taking into account the other users such as shipping, the fisheries, mining and defence.

Assessment frameworks

The North Sea Programme 2022-2027 contains policy and assessment frameworks, not least concerning through shipping, joint use, licensed activities and area surveys, plus an Area Passport Guide. In addition, it makes statements about artificial islands at sea, describes the challenges of land/sea interactions, specifies the targets and initiatives for knowledge development and monitoring and, finally, provides an overview of the action to be taken during the policy period.
TheMarine Strategy Part 3(programme of measures) is an appendix to the North Sea Programme 2022-2027. To achieve good environmental status for the descriptors biodiversity, seabed integrity, marine litter and underwater noise, further measures have been stipulated in addition to the existing measures.


The North Sea Programme - part of the National Water Programme- was established 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 policy and the Minister for Public Housing and Spatial Planning, in consultation with the Minister for Climate and Energy and the under-minister of Economic Affairs and Climate.

Formulation of the programme

For the formulation of the North Sea Programme and the process of dealing with the recommendations and public consultation responses collected during the design phase, please see the reaction paper to the National Water Programme 2022-2027 (including Draft North Sea Programme) and the supplementary reaction paper to the Supplementary Draft North Sea Programme. In relation to the designation of wind farm zones in the North Sea Programme 2022-2027, a Supplementary Environmental Impact Assessment and a supplementary Appropriate Assessment were also drafted.