Eastern Channel - North Sea Basin Strategy Document


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In the framework of the MSP Directive, France has divided its metropolitan maritime space into four sea basins ("façades"), each one is the subject to a specific planning process. Between 2018 and 2019, Sea Basin Strategy Documents were published for each of the sea basins. This practice refers to the Sea Basin Strategy Document for the Eastern Channel - North Sea. It provides a detailed description of the existing situation (including the physical and biological aspects, human activities), as well as strategic objectives in line with the National Strategy for the Sea and Coast (2017). 

Sea Basin(s): 
September 2019
Application in MSP: 
Applied in an MSP process
Nature protection
Offshore renewable energy production
Scientific Research
Submarine cables and pipelines
Under water cultural heritage
Type of Issue: 
Coexistence of uses
Economic aspects
Environment aspects
Land-sea interactions
Safety aspects
Social aspects
Type of practice: 
Stage of MSP cycle: 
Analyse spatial aspects
Develop and implement plan
Cross-border / trans-national aspect: 
Coherence with other processes: 
Habitats and Birds Directive
Integrated Coastal Zone Management
Marine Strategy Framework Directive
Renewable Energy Directive
Strategic Environmental Assessment
Water Framework Directive

Questions this practice may help answer: 

  • What are the main issues concerning the French Eastern Channel - North Sea sea basin? 
  • What are the strategical objectives defined for the French Eastern Channel - North Sea sea basin?  
  • How is marine spatial planning applied in France?  

Implementation Context: 

As part of the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive (2008) and the Maritime Spatial Planning Framework Directive (2014), France has adopted a National Strategy for the Sea and Coast (2017). This national strategy is adapted for each sea basin via the elaboration of a planning document.  

Aspects / Objectives: 

The document provides a summary of the current situation in the Eastern Channel - North Sea Basin in regard to the main activities and related socio-economic issues, ongoing research, as well as the state of the marine and coastal ecosystems and associated issues. It highlights the major challenges and draws a vision for 2030 with associated strategic objectives. This Sea Basin Strategy will serve as a basis for developing the Sea Basin action plan that is planned to be provided by 2021.  


The Sea Basin Strategy Document is drafted by the Sea Basin Council for the Eastern Channel - North Sea, which includes the representatives of the local maritime prefectures (préfécture maritime de la Manche et de la Mer du Nord and the préfécture of Normandie), local authorities, coastal and maritime activities, and associations on the protection of the marine environment. A public consultation has been organized to seek the public input, following the collection of public opinion through the www.merlittoral2030.gouv.fr platform.  

Main Outputs / Results: 

The document draws a maritime spatial planning strategy at a sub-national scale. This is the first strategy concerning the maritime space in France developed at such a scale. Along with the vision for 2030 and associated strategic objectives, the document provides a "designated uses map", which divides the French Eastern Channel - North Sea Basin into eight zones, corresponding to the areas with similar issues or potentials, as a basis for spatial implementation of strategic objectives. 


The document is drafted for the Eastern Channel - North Sea basin in the framework of the French maritime policy and, as such, the practice is not transferable to other countries.

Responsible Entity: 

Ministry of Ecological and Solidarity Transition    

Interregional Direction of Sea of Eastern Channel - North Sea 

Contact person: