Land-Sea interactions in MSP

Main Issues: 

Most development and activities taking place in the marine environment also have an onshore component or implication. Alignment between marine and terrestrial planning is important and should be achieved through consistency of policy guidance, plans and decisions. In some Member States, MSPs are – by principle - integrated in territorial spatial planning as they form part of the general land use plans (i.e. Lithuanian Master Plan / German Federal Plan of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern).

The EU MSP Platform organized a conference on this topic for the European Commission in June 2017. National experts and MSP practitioners exchanged experiences and knowledge during three interactive sessions focusing on key LSI issues in specific countries / contexts, strengths and weaknesses of sub-national approaches to LSI and the LSI issues faced by participants. All documents from the conference, including the conference briefing paper, summary report, and presentations, can be found on the event page. 

The Directorate General for Environment has published a study in 2017 titled 'Land-Sea Interactions in Maritime Spatial Planning', which explores the relationship between the Directive on Maritime Spatial Planning and LSI, as well as the relationship between LSI and Integrated Coastal Zone Management. The report describes the LSI of eight of the most typical marine development sectors, along with the key messages and issues to be considered in the MSP process. The report is available for download here.

Further exploration of the topic is the subject of the currently ongoing ESPON project on MSP and LSI.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is MSP only about planning of sea areas or does it refer to a broader geographic context?

According to the DIRECTIVE 2014/89/EU establishing a framework for maritime spatial planning, whilst it is noted that activities carried out on land such as agriculture and urban growth can have a profound impact on the marine environment for example via run off of chemicals / waste etc. and as such are relevant in the context of Maritime Spatial Planning, MSP directive manages only maritime activities and activities in coastal waters.

It is noted that achieving consistency between maritime and terrestrial will be challenging and that in order to “promote the sustainable use of maritime space, maritime spatial planning should take into account land-sea interactions”.

What is the difference between integrated coastal management (ICM) and MSP processes?

Whilst Maritime Spatial Planning and Integrated Coastal Management (ICM, sometimes referred to as Integrated Coastal Zone Management or ICZM) both involve a strategic approach to planning within the marine environment in terms of uses and activities, the main difference between the two are the scales to which they can be applied. Typically ICM is applied to marine zones less than two kilometres from the coastline, conversely MSP can be applied to much wider areas such as coastal watersheds or Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ).

ICM can be defined as dynamic, multi-disciplinary and iterative process to promote the sustainable management of coastal zones (EC COM(2000) 547). The 2002 Recommendation sets out broad principles for ICM processes, including the need for informed participation and co-operation of all stakeholders. The same Recommendation (and the following EC COM(2013) 133) invites Member States to develop ICM strategies based on the results of a previous stocktaking of major actors, laws and institutions influencing coastal management. Indeed, there is no EU requirement for all Member States to conduct ICM, and practice varies according to local conditions. However, for the Mediterranean basin the ICZM Protocol to the Barcelona Convention defines a common binding framework for ICM. MSP, by contrast, is a formal requirement for all EU Member States and mounts into maritime spatial plans. It is worth mentioning that the geographic scope of the ICZM Protocol in the Mediterranean extends seaward to the external limit of the territorial sea of the Parties, overlapping with the MSP area of interest.

How can be MSP used to integrate various already existing planning approaches like ICM or EBM (Ecosystem-based management)?

The IMP identifies maritime spatial planning as a cross-cutting policy tool enabling public authorities and stakeholders to apply a coordinated, integrated and trans-boundary approach. The application of an ecosystem-based approach will contribute to promoting the sustainable development and growth of the maritime and coastal economies and the sustainable use of marine and coastal resources. With this in mind the maritime spatial planning should not be seen as a standalone tool, rather one that incorporates ecosystem based management and integrated coastal zone management where applicable. Art. 7 of the MSP Directive states that “to take into account land-sea interactions in accordance with Article 4(2), should this not form part of the maritime spatial planning process as such, Member States may use other formal or informal processes, such as integral coastal management. The outcome shall be reflected by Member States in their maritime spatial plans.”

What examples of plans or guidelines exist which can provide a framework for integrating terrestrial and marine planning?

The Interreg funded C-Scope project was undertaken by the Dorset Coastal Form (DCS) and the Coordination Centre on Integrated Coastal Zone Management in Belgium. One of the key aims of the project was to develop a framework for an integrated approach to land and sea planning and management which also provided practical case studies, comprehensive information resources and test cases for the implementation of MSP in both partner areas. 

In the Kattegat and Skagerrak the Hav möter Land (Land meets Sea) project brought together 26 municipalities, regions, universities and governmental organisations from Norway, Sweden and Denmark one major aim being  working to achieve coordinated management of the land and sea.

In addition a number of examples of guidelines have been produced to encourage local authorities and other regulatory bodies to consider how land use planning and marine planning are interlinked. For example in the UK, the Marine Management Organisation produced a Guide for Local Councils which compared land use and marine planning in order to improve understanding of the links between the two. 

These and a number of other practice examples can be found on the practices section of this website. In addition to these practices a briefing paper was produced prior to the LSI Conference in Malta which outlines the complex dynamics which exist between land-sea interactions along with the various options for governance which have been used to address this. The diagram below summarises this framework.

In 2018 the European Commission Directorate-General for Environment produced a brochure entitled “Land Sea Interactions in Maritime Spatial Planning” designed to give an understanding of how LSI can be addressed in the development of maritime spatial plans for 8 key sectors.  The eight most typical marine sectors described in the report are: Aquaculture, Desalination, Fisheries, Marine cables & pipelines, Minerals & mining, Ports & Shipping, Tourism & coastal recreation and Offshore Energy. More detail can be found in the Practice description 'Land-Sea Interactions in MSP'.

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