On the 20th of March 2020, the marine spatial plan 2020-2026 came into force.  Along with a brand new brochure!

Did you know that Belgium with 37% of its marine area protected is far above the European average of 8.9%? And that our country provides proportionally the most offshore space for renewable energy of all countries in the world?

Nature conservation, green energy, shipping, fishing, sand extraction, defence and so many other activities take place every day in our little piece of Belgian North Sea. In order to allow all these activities to take place safely, the federal government draws up a marine spatial plan every six years. It is a type of spatial planning that has existed on land for some time, but at sea it is quite unique in the world. Many countries come to Belgium to see how we deal with giving all activities and stakeholders their rightful place at sea.

What is new in the plan?

The first plan covered the period 2014-2020. The new plan for 2020-2026 includes these new features:

  • a second offshore energy zone, the Princess Elisabeth area, which aims to almost double the energy capacity (from 10% of Belgium's electricity needs at the end of this year to 20% by 2025/2026)
  • an additional nature reserve on the Dutch border
  • three new search zones for soil protection measures
  • five specific zones where commercial and industrial activities can be developed. Sustainable development will be the main focus.
  • The plan was drawn up by the Marine Environment Service of the Federal Public Service for Public Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment, by order of the North Sea Minister, Philippe De Backer.

Philippe De Backer: "Belgium was a pioneer with its first marine spatial plan and we are now the first to revise it. It has been a long but fascinating journey in which the balance between economy, ecology and safety was central. I would like to thank all stakeholders, citizens and organisations for their constructive contribution to this process and I am pleased that with this new marine spatial plan, the North Sea can continue to develop in terms of a blue economy, with respect for the marine environment and the protected Natura 2000 nature reserves."

A brand new brochure

The brochure 'Something moves at sea. The marine spatial plan 2020-2026' contains a lot of facts and summarises the marine spatial plan 2020-2026 in an accessible way. It 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.

Order the free brochure from the FPS Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment:

More information and the complete marine spatial plan: www.marinespatialplan.be