The framework of salt tectonics in the Central North Sea was set early in the Triassic. We defined and illustrated five major domains of differing salt tectonic style. The differing structural styles were all interpreted as having evolved under a component of lateral displacement pairing extensional and contractional structures, produced by some combination of decoupled rift extension and gravity sliding. However, the extensional structures are located toward the basin center and the contractional structures near the original updip limits of salt. This suggests a framework driven by gravity sliding of the sediments overlying the Zechstein away from the Central Graben. Possible mechanisms for structural relief away from the Central Graben are the Triassic focus of rifting lying further east at the Norwegian-Danish basin, footwall uplift of a Triassic Central Graben precursor and significant thermal doming occurring much earlier than had previously been thought. The mechanisms are not mutually exclusive and may have acted in concert.