Marine policy – UK Marine Policy Statement

The UK Marine Policy Statement (MPS) provides the policy framework for the marine planning system and taking decisions affecting the marine environment.

Guidance has been provided on its use from 1st January 2021

Guidance to the UK marine policy statement


The MPS was published in March 2011. It was prepared and adopted under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009. You can view the MPS on the website

Decision making

Public authorities taking authorisation or enforcement decisions, which affect or might affect the marine area, must do so in line with marine policy documents, such as the MPS and marine plans, unless relevant considerations indicate otherwise. A public authority must explain any decision not made in line with an adopted marine plan or the MPS.

Where there is no marine plan in place, the MPS sets the direction for authorisation and enforcement decisions that affect or might affect the marine area. 

Relationship with marine plans

The MPS provides the context for marine plans and will ensure consistency in marine planning across the UK marine area.

Marine plans must be in conformity with the MPS, unless relevant considerations indicate otherwise. Marine plans put into practice the policy objectives, principles and considerations (economic, environmental and social) for the marine environment and key activities that are identified in the MPS.

Review and withdrawal

The MPS will remain in place until it is withdrawn, amended or replaced. It will be reviewed as and when the relevant policy authorities (the Secretary of State in conjunction with devolved authorities) consider it appropriate to do so.

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