Best practice in implementation of MSP


Aims to assess whether, given, the right policies and legislations are in place to what extent, have countries developed Maritime Spatial Plans, how these are being implemented and enforced and, whether they are being monitored and reviewed. Draws from experience on MSP.

June 2011
Application in MSP: 
Unknown effect
Offshore renewable energy production
Type of Issue: 
Coexistence of uses
Type of practice: 
Stage of MSP cycle: 
Vision and aims
Analyse spatial aspects
Develop and implement plan
Cross-border / trans-national aspect: 
Coherence with other processes: 
Renewable Energy Directive
Trans-European Transport Network

Questions this practice may help answer

  • What are the best practices on implementation of MSPs?
  • What can be done to improve implementation of MSPs?

Implementation Context

The Seanergy 2020 project has developed a set of seven criteria to evaluate the different MSP regimes across the 17 EU Member States. These criteria are: 1) policy and legal framework; 2) data and information management; 3) permitting and licensing; 4) consultation 5) sector conflict management; 6) cross-border cooperation; 7) implementation of MSP. Based on these criteria, a series of national reports were commissioned to establish the current status of MSP within each EU Member States. These reports go into detail on the specific arrangements within the different countries and provide details on national legalisation, data management, permitting arrangements, consultation mechanisms, methods for managing sector-conflict and cross-border cooperation. In this practice the findings concerning best practices of implementation of MSPs will be elaborated.

Aspects / Objectives

What have been best practices on implementation of MSPs?


A series of national reports were commissioned to establish the current status of MSP within each EU Member State. These reports have been used as input for the best practices on implementation. The main questions posed were:

  • To what extent have countries developed Maritime Spatial Plans
  • How these are being implemented and enforced
  • Are they being monitored and reviewed.

Main Outputs / Results

The report provides a summary of the findings. Furthermore, the following recommendations on implementation of MSPs have been defined:

  • Marine spatial planning implemented as a statutory system;
  • Clear objectives and priorities set;
  • There is a central institution responsible for coordinating the development, implementation and review of MSP;
  • A pre-planning process provides the building blocks for effective development of a plan: obtaining financial resources; legal and policy basis; data & information collection and analysis;
  • MSP accounts for all spatial scales and ensures coverage of all relevant maritime activities. It also takes account of transboundary interactions;
  • Current tools such as Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) are integrated into the process;
  • Stakeholders are involved throughout the process including during pre-planning, development of the plan, implementation and monitoring;
  • The MSP is for a defined planning horizon (recommended 20 years) with a statutory requirement to regularly review (e.g. every 5 years). There is monitoring of the plan progress;
  • Plans are practical for implementation through existing planning mechanisms.


The best practices refer to a specific geographical area or institutional context. However, the recommendations can be applicable to all EU member states.

Costs / Funding Source

The practice was elaborated under the Seanergy 2020 Project co-financed by Intelligent Energy Europe. Direct costs of its elaboration are unknown.

Responsible Entity

European Wind Energy Association

Contact Person

Dorina Iuga

European Wind Energy Association