Which maritime spatial plans exist?

Up-to now, there exist no national marine spatial plans covering the territorial sea and the EEZ developed in Sweden. Three plans covering the territorial sea and the EEZ are under preparation: Skagerrak/Kattegat, Baltic Sea and Gulf of Bothnia. Now that the state carries out national MSP, there will be an overlapping planning area in most of the territorial sea. Both the local comprehensive plans and the forthcoming national marine spatial plans are guiding.

On 1 December 2016 SwAM published early draft MSP-proposals for all three national MSP areas (Gulf of Bothnia, Baltic Sea and Skagerrak/Kattegat). In January/February 2017 environmental impact assessments (within the SEA-processes) were published. The drafts and the EIA were the basis for a broad dialogue with trade organisations, NGOs, central government agencies, regional government bodies (County Administrative Boards), regions, municipalities, academia and neighbouring countries. A consultation meeting with neighbouring countries was held on 19 June in Malmö. Espoo-consultations started on 15 June 2018 and will run to October 2018. The plans and SEAs have been translated to English and relevant parts have been translated to other requested languages.

The final round of plan proposals with environmental impact assessments and sustainability assessments were published on 14 March 2019. There will be a broad public 3 –months consultation, followed by submission of the final plan proposals to the Government in December 2019.

MSP legislation

The Swedish Environmental Code (EC, 1998:808) and the Plan and Building Act (2010:900) constitute the legal basis for MSP in Sweden. According to the Environmental Code there shall be three marine spatial plans: Bothnian Bay, Baltic Sea, Western Waters (Skagerrak/Kattegatt) covering the area one nautical mile from the baseline seawards (incl. the EEZ). The plans, which shall be adopted by the Government, shall be guiding and contribute to sustainable development. The Government may according to the legislation adopt regulations prohibiting or limiting activities in destined geographical areas. The MSP process is regulated by the Marine Spatial Planning Ordinance (2015:400), which contains provisions on geographical boundaries, the content of the marine spatial plans, the responsibility for preparation, consultation and cooperation in the proposal process, and monitoring and review. In parallel, the Plan and Building Act (PBL Act, 2010:900) regulates the responsibilities and mandate for the municipalities to plan land and water including the territorial sea.

National MSP authority

Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management (SwAM)

Marine Spatial Planning and Maritime Affairs

Thomas Johansson

Head of Marine Spatial Planning and Maritime Affairs

Box 11930, SE-404 39 Göteborg, Sweden

Phone: +46 (0)10-698 60 19


Ministry of Environment and Energy Regeringskansliet



SE-103 33 Stockholm, Sweden

+46 (0)8 405 10 00




Last Update 31.01.2020