Spatial planning

Need for a spatial policy for the North Sea

Few of us living and working on land realize how extensively the North Sea is used. Fishing, shipping, offshore industry, wind farms, sand mining, defense and recreation are just a few of the most important activities. All these activities require space. Therefore, there is a need for a fine-tuned marine spatial policy, whereby economic development is optimally guaranteed without the degradation of the environment and with minimal conflict between users.

Master plan North Sea

In 2003 Belgium was one of the first countries in Europe to develop a marine spatial plan (MSP) for the North Sea, the so called ‘Master plan North Sea’. In 2014 an updated plan is created, which is committed even more to following the planning process (comparable to what is happening in the regions regarding spatial planning on land). Click here for more information on the new marine spatial plan and the new related legislation for the Spatial Planning of the Belgian North Sea.

Underwater heritage

Underwater heritage was not in focus of the Marine spatial plan for the North Sea of 2003. In the new version of 2014 underwater cultural heritage is very well integrated in the annexes to the new law . In the meantime 2 wrecksites have acquired a cultural heritage label and as such are claiming a little bit of space for heritage reasons.

Contribution of the project

The project aims to contribute to integrate fully underwater cultural heritage in the actual spatial planning process in Belgium.