Overview of MSP related maritime uses

  • The Belgian Part of the North Sea is a relatively small area with many different uses
  • Current main uses:
    • Offshore renewable energy production
    • Shipping
    • Ports
    • Mineral extraction
    • Nature conservation
    • Fisheries
    • Aquaculture
    • Military
    • Scientific research
  • Other current uses: ammunition storage site, coastal protection, cables and pipelines, tourim and measuring poles and radars
  • Future uses:
    • Aquaculture
  • Other future uses: new blue economy activities

Which maritime spatial plans exist?

Maritime Spatial Plan for the Belgian Part of the North Sea, March 2014

Update of the MSP 2016-2020 expected in 2019

  • The current plan considers the following uses:

    • Shipping
    • Ports
    • Mineral extraction
    • Offshore renewable energy production
    • Fishing
    • Aquaculture
    • Tourism (incl. recreation and sports)
    • Under water cultural heritage
    • Nature protection
    • Military
    • Scientific Research
    • Submarine cables and pipelines
  • Other uses considered: coastal protection. A location has been established to perform coastal protection experiments, located offshore of De Panne near the French border.

MSP legislation

The planning process at the national level has a legal basis in the Marine Environment Act, amended in 2012 to include the development of a MSP. Its name was also amended to "Act for the protection of marine environment and for the organisation of maritime spatial planning in the maritime regions under the Belgian jurisdiction." A Royal Decree of November 20, 2012 dictates the establishment of an advisory committee and the procedure for the adoption of a MSP in the Belgian maritime regions. The Royal Decree of March 20, 2014 adopts the MSP.

In the spring of 2017, the review process of the Belgian MSP for the period 2020-2026 kicked off with an informal consultation. The received reactions were transformed into a first draft of the new plan and the revision process entered into its formal phase in the same year. A pre-draft of the plan was presented to the advisory committee, a dedicated committee consisting of all competent Belgian federal and Flemish government services, in Autumn 2017. Their comments and suggestions were included in an adapted version. On 20 April 2018, the Council of Ministers adopted the pre-draft MSP (thus becoming a draft) and a large-scale formal consultation process was launched in July 2018. The public sent in around 150 different contributions as regards content and more than 40.000 contributions via petition letters and automatic emails. As part of the consultation process, a public hearing was organised and the neighbouring and interested countries were contacted to provide their thoughts on the draft plan. Spring 2019, the plan will be finalised, to enter into force Spring 2020.

National MSP authority

Belgian Minister of the North Sea


Federal Public Service Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment
Marine Environment Service

Steven Vandenborre

Jesse Verhalle

Federal Public Service Mobility and Transport
Directorate General Shipping

Jeroen Van Overloop

Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS)
Management Unit of the North Sea Mathematical Models and the Scheldt estuary (MUMM)

Steven Degraer



Last Update 02.05.2019