Marine Spatial Plan
Did you know Belgium, with its 37% marine protected area, is far above the European average of 8.9%? And that our country has the largest percentage of offshore renewable space in the world?
In and on our North Sea, a lot of activities take place in a rather limited space, such as renewable energy, nature conservation, shipping, fishing and sand extraction. A Marine Spatial Plan (MSP) is therefore necessary to reconcile these various (economic, ecological and social) interests and to provide every activity with an appropriate place in the North Sea. It is a type of spatial planning that has existed on land for some time, but poses specific challenges at sea.
Assigned by the Minister of the North Sea, the first marine spatial plan was drawn up by the Marine Environment Service of the FPS Health for the period 2014-2020. Belgium was thus a pioneer in Europe and even in the world.
The current Marine Spatial Plan covers the period 2020-2026. Based on the new Marine Protection Act, the next MRP will cover an eight-year cycle, 2026-2034.
To guide the revision process, the Marine Environment Service organised a launch event on 19 April 2023.
The event marked the first step to promote stakeholder involvement The Marine Environment Service invites all interested parties to submit their proposals and ideas on the new MSP until 19 June 2023. A form has been prepared for this purpose, which makes it possible to substantiate the proposals properly and to facilitate the decision-making process. You can send this completed form to:
or by letter to:
- FPS Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment
Attn: Marine Environment Service
A summary brochure for the Marine Spatial Plan 2020-2026
The brochure 'Something is moving at sea. The Marine Spatial Plan 2020-2026' gives an overview of the most important activities in our North Sea on the basis of specific maps. You can also test your knowledge with a short quiz.
How did the marine spatial plan 2020-2026 come about?
The MSP can have a major impact on the society. Therefor a close cooperation with all those involved is necessary. NGOs, businesses, government bodies, interest groups and citizens submitted their proposals and comments during two rounds of consultations. The sustainability aspect also received extra attention, for example through the Strategic Environmental Impact Assessment (SEA). After the contributions had been processed, the new MSP was signed by the King on 22 May 2019. It entered into force on 20 March 2020.
More information on the public consultation on the MSP 2020-2026 can be found at www.consult-environment.be.
What is included in the marine spatial plan?
The marine spatial plan includes the following sections:
- The royal decree establishing the marine spatial plan for the period 2020 to 2026 in the maritime areas under the Belgian jurisdiction (non-binding translation)
- Five annexes (see Dutch and French)
- The Strategic Environmental Impact Assessment (SEA) (see Dutch and French)