OEP launches call for evidence to support on Good Environmental Status (GES) for UK marine waters

The Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) has launched a call for evidence to support a review of the drivers, pressures and data gaps affecting the achievement of Good Environmental Status (GES) in UK marine waters.

Evidence submitted will help inform the OEP’s work to drive positive change on critical issues impacting the marine environment. Key questions being asked of stakeholders as part of the call for evidence include:

  • What are the key drivers and pressures affecting the achievement of GES in UK marine waters?
  • What actions are needed to deliver GES in UK marine waters?
  • What are the barriers and opportunities to addressing pressures and drivers through these actions?
  • Where are the gaps in the available data and evidence that need to be filled to ensure achievement of GES can be monitored and actions are effectively identified, and implemented?
  • What additional actions are required to fill any data gaps and how long would it take to deliver them?

The UK has committed to ensuring that:

  • by 2030 at least 30 per cent of coastal and marine areas, are effectively conserved and managed through protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures.
  • by 2030 at least 30 per cent of areas of degraded terrestrial, inland water, and coastal and marine ecosystems are under effective restoration. 

These commitments are backed by the Environment Act target to ensure the features of Marine Protected Areas in England are in favourable condition or recovering, and the Marine Strategy Regulations 2010 which require action to be taken to achieve or maintain GES of marine waters by 2020. 

The approach to achieving GES is set out in the UK Marine Strategy.  In England GES is also a key target and commitment in the Environmental Improvement Plan 2023 and is included in the draft Environment Strategy for Northern Ireland. 

The next UK Marine Strategy assessment will be published in 2024, it will set out whether the UK has achieved GES and will set new targets for the next cycle of the strategy. Targets for the next cycle must be realistic and drive action to deliver and maintain GES. We are seeking evidence to support our assessment of the range and importance of drivers, and pressures, impacting upon the achievement of GES, the steps which should be included in the next cycle of the UK Marine Strategy to achieve GES, and the data needed to enable those steps to be implemented and effectively monitored. 

Submissions are requested by 31 January, 2024. 

This call for evidence is being held on another webpage.

Or for more information on this call for evidence, including submission guidelines and an explanation of how the OEP will use information it receives, see the full document by clicking on the download button on this page.