Programmes of measures

Based on the initial assessment and by reference to the environmental targets, the Member States must, in respect of each marine (sub)region concerned, devise the measures which need to be taken in order to achieve or maintain GES. Consideration must be given to the types of measures listed in Annex VI. Among these are input and output controls, measures that influence where and when an activity is allowed to occur, measures to improve the traceability of marine pollution and economic incentives. The measures shall be cost-effective and technically feasible. Impact assessments, including cost-benefit analyses, are to be carried out prior to the introduction of a new measure.

The measures shall be integrated into a programme of measures, designed to achieve or maintain GES, to be developed by 2015 and put into operation by 2016 at the latest. Such programmes of measures must indicate how the measures are to be implemented and how they will contribute to the achievement of the environmental targets. (Arts 5 and 13.)

When drawing up the programme of measures, consideration must be given to relevant measures required by other EU legislation, in particular the WFD, the Directive on urban waste-water treatment (Directive 91/271/EEC), and the Bathing Water Directive (Directive 2006/7/EC), as well as legislation on EQS in the field of water policy and international agreements. Due consideration shall also be given to sustainable development and, in particular, to the social and economic impacts of the measures envisaged. It should be noted that consideration of social and economic impacts does not justify non-fulfilment of the obligation to achieve GES (exemptions are discussed presently).

The programmes of measures shall include spatial protection measures contributing to coherent and representative networks of marine protected areas, adequately covering the diversity of the constituent ecosystems, such as special areas of conservation pursuant to the Habitats Directive, special protection areas pursuant to the Birds Directive, and marine protected areas as agreed by the EU or Member States concerned in the framework of international or regional agreements to which they are parties.[1] (Art 13.)

The Commission and any other Member State concerned must be notified of the programmes of measures. It is then for the Commission to assess whether the programmes constitute an appropriate framework to meet the requirements of the Directive and to provide guidance on any modifications it considers necessary. (Art 16.)

  • [1] On the establishment of such areas, see Report from the Commission on the progress in establishing marine protected areas (as required by Article 21 of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive2008/56/EC) (1 October 2015) COM(2015) 481 final.
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