A novel approach for cumulative impacts assessment for marine spatial planning

-----

Please note:

The Commission is in the process of updating some of the content on this website in light of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union. If the site contains content that does not yet reflect the withdrawal of the United Kingdom, it is unintentional and will be addressed.

-----

Environmental Science and Policy, 106 (2020), 125-135  

Abstract: 

The study proposes a new approach to Cumulative Effect Assessment (CEA), using the best data available. In the MSP context, CEA is crucial for effective management of marine space as it provides estimation of cumulative impacts of existing and planned activities, and understanding of how these impacts interact with changes occuring in the environment. The tool developed in this study (and tested in UK) is one of the most recent for CEA. The study also draws attention to the lack of data and its impacts on CEA. 

Sea Basin(s): 
Country: 
Year: 
January 2020
Application in MSP: 
Unknown effect
Sectors: 
Not sector specific
Type of Issue: 
Coexistence of uses
Data
Environment aspects
Type of practice: 
Tools
Stage of MSP cycle: 
Vision and aims
Analyse spatial aspects
Cross-border / trans-national aspect: 
No
Coherence with other processes: 
Habitats and Birds Directive
Marine Strategy Framework Directive
Strategic Environmental Assessment

Questions this practice may help answer: 

  • What is the Cumulative Effect Assessment (CEA)?  
  • How to conduct CEA using the best available data? 
  • How can Cumulative Effect Assessment can support a more efficient MSP?  

Implementation Context: 

The study represents one of the results of a PhD project, partially funded by CEFAS (UK), as well as two European projects CERES and DEVOTES. It uses the UK as a case study. 

Aspects / Objectives: 

The purpose of this study is to elaborate a new approach to the Cumulative Effects Assessment (CEA) with the purpose of assisting project managers and policy-makers in management of impacts of maritime activities on the environment. Using available spatial data, the study aims at developing a visual representation of cumulative impacts of activities or projects to support the decision-making process. The tool is designed for a non-expert use.  

MethoD: 

The tool takes as a basis a spatio-temporal database of existing or potential maritime activities (including the depth dimension) and pressure’s matrix. It provides insights regarding the present and future pressures on receptors (i.e. habitats, species etc.) according to the development of activities.  

Main Outputs / Results: 

The study provides a novel and innovative approach to CEA. The method improves previous tools through an attempt to rectify its limitations, such as the overestimation of project impacts or the "double counting" of pressures. The tool identifies areas where pressures are already significant or where they can be reduced.  

Transferability: 

While developed and applied in the UK, the approach can be transposed worldwide, as Cumulative Effects Assessments allow estimation of impacts of multiple uses on maritime space for the implementation of the MSP.

Responsible Entity: 

Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (UK) 

Institute of Estuarine and Coastal Studies, University of Hull (UK) 

Costs / Funding Source: 

Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS, UK) 

Institute of Estuarine and Coastal Studies, University of Hull (UK) 

This study was also partially supported by the DEVOTES (DEVelopment Of innovative Tools for understanding marine biodiversity and assessing good Environmental Status) project funded by the European Seventh Programme for research, technological development and demonstration, "The Ocean of Tomorrow" Theme (grant agreement no.308392). It was also partly funded by the European Union Horizon 2020 project CERES (Climate Change and European Aquatic Resources, grant no. 678193). 

Contact person: 

Jemma-Anne Lonsdale 

Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (UK) 

Email: jemma.lonsdale@cefas.co.uk 

Share

Print