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Project NorthSEE

NorthSEE – A North Sea Perspective on Shipping, Energy and Environment Aspects in MSP

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  • Duration: 2016 – 2019
  • Funding: Interreg North Sea Region
  • Lead Partner: Bundesamt für Seeschifffahrt und Hydrographie (BSH)
  • Budget: 4 Mio. €
  • Website:


Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) is recognised by the European Commission in its Integrated Maritime Policy as an essential component for achieving Blue Growth. The particular role of MSP for blue growth has also been emphasised in the Limassol Declaration on EU Integrated Maritime Policy, which values its "improved planning transparency and a balanced approach between relevant sectors and stakeholders" of MSP.

The North Sea Region (NSR) is one of the busiest areas for shipping and exploitation of natural resources (oil, gas, wind, etc.) in the world, and contains unique natural reserves. The countries around the NSR are frontrunners when it comes to MSP. Most of them have implemented or are developing national Maritime Spatial Plans to promote sustainable development of the sea within their national boundaries. Although MSP is a national competence, member states need to ensure that their national MSPs are also coherent across seabasins. This is prescribed by the EU MSP Directive (2014) and also required in terms of spatial efficiency and connectivity.

Relevant authorities have used their own planning methods and processes to develop these plans. Exchange of the different approaches can serve as a source of inspiration for improving national MSP processes. Furthermore exchange can improve mutual understanding of the different national MSP systems and hence facilitate coordination. Given that the North Sea is a transnational area, coordination among national Maritime Spatial Plans is useful to capture synergies and to prevent incompatibilities concerning shipping routes, energy infrastructure and environmental protection.

Target of the Project

The NorthSEE project aims to achieve greater coherence in Maritime Spatial Planning (processes) and in Maritime Spatial Plans (capturing synergies and preventing incompatibilies. The project seeks to create better conditions for sustainable development of the area in the fields of shipping, energy and environment protection.

NorthSEE 3 Themen

Main Tasks

  • To suggest a multi-level coordination framework capable of supporting ongoing coordination in MSP across the NSR in the long term
  • To develop an information and planning platform for MSP, enabling planners and stakeholders to share evidence for MSP and test different planning options in the form of scenarios based on real data (MSP Challenge)
  • To increase the capacity of stakeholders in key transnational sectors to actively contribute to MSP
  • To align approaches for taking into account wider environmental issues in MSP
  • To facilitate greater transnational coherence in MSP with respect to offshore energy infrastructure
  • To achieve greater transnational coherence in using MSP to support environmental protection objectives
  • To facilitate greater transnational coherence in MSP with respect to shipping routes

NorthSEE Activities

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