Skip to content

European directives and guidance

The content of this page is not being updated. Get up to date information on Marine and fisheries at

Related Links

The Water Framework Directive is European legislation which promotes water management through river basin planning.
A legislative framework for protecting and conserving Europe's wildlife and habitats.

Seas and oceans are not bound by political borders and so taking care of the marine environment is the responsibility of all of Europe.

Using our seas requires cooperation between European countries to manage them effectively.

Marine pollution can travel hundreds of miles and affect other countries. So the threats facing our seas, such as litter and pollution, are the responsibility of all countries.

Europe creates directives to:

  • manage the seas
  • to protect the biodiversity
  • ensure its sustainable use.

These directives, such as the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), ensure that all European countries are working to a common goal and cooperating with each other to achieve it.

Environmental damage: extending the Environmental Liability Directive into marine waters

UK government and Welsh Government ran a consultation exercise from 28th July to 21st September 2014 seeking comments on proposals to transpose Article 38 of Directive 2013/30/EU on the safety of offshore oil and gas operations (OSD).

A summary of responses to the consultation as well as a response from the UK government and Welsh Government is now available.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change and Health and Safety Executive are responsible for the wider transposition of the OSD. They ran a parallel consultation exercise to transpose the rest of the OSD by the deadline of 19 July 2015 -The implementation of Directive 2013/30/EU on the safety of offshore oil and gas operations

The goal of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive is to achieve good environmental status (GES) in European waters by 2020.

A strategy for how the UK manages its waters has been delivered in 3 parts, with each part being subject to public consultation.

A public consultation on Part 3, ran from 30th January to 24th April.Part 3 is the final part of our UK Marine Strategy which also includes, in Parts 1 and 2, our targets and indicators and the monitoring programmes that will be used to assess progress towards GES.