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State Plan for the Protection of the Sea Shore against Pollution


The State Plan for the Protection of the Sea Shore against Pollution (Plan Ribera) has been developed by the General Directorate for the Sustainability of the Coast and Sea of Spain, with the collaboration of the Ministry of Development of Spain and the Ministry of the Interior of Spain. It includes aspects such as an atlas of sensitivity of the Spanish coast and an analysis of vulnerability and risk, as well as the logistical and management capacities necessary to deal with an episode of pollution of significant size and intensity.

This Plan complements the Territorial Plans established by the Autonomous Communities, with the objective of ensuring coordination in actions to combat pollution on the coast, particularly in cases where more than one Autonomous Community is affected or when the Intervention of means of other States, that is, when the contamination episode is supra-autonomous or supranational, or in those cases of special need in which the danger of irreparable damages is imminent.

In any case, the means of the Plan Ribera can be mobilized at the request of the Autonomous Community when there are circumstances that so require.

Application in MSP:
Type of Issue:
Type of practice:
Stage of MSP cycle:
Cross-border / trans-national aspect:
Key words:

Questions this practice may help answer

  • How were specific planning steps (e.g. stocktake, conflict analysis) implemented within Plan Ribera?
  • What were the outcomes of the activities that that took place within the context of Plan Ribera?
  • What lessons can be learned from the Plan Ribera experience?

Implementation Context

This publication provides an overview of the outcomes, results and lessons to be learnt from the numerous activities undertaken within the context of the Plan Ribera, and it is mostly based on activities and results of itself.

Aspects / Objectives

The purpose of this report is to extract general lessons which can be applied to other maritime planning contexts, in the hope of offering useful pointers on how to tackle MSP processes both at the national and the transnational level.


The drafting of the Plan was carried out with the help of CEDEX (and more specifically the Center for Studies of Ports and Coasts), and summarized below:


  • Determination of the probability of occurrence of incidents:
  • Analysis of the probability of spills (associated with maritime traffic or facilities susceptible to pollution).
  • Selection of accidental scenarios and mathematical modeling of the evolution of the discharges until reaching the shore of the sea
  • Zoning of the littoral based on the probability of occurrence of incidents of contamination of the sea shore
  • Analysis of the sensitivity of coastal stretches (geological and physiographic characterization, climatological and oceanographic, ecological, socioeconomic and access):
  • Elaboration of the Atlas of Sensitivity of the Spanish coast
  • Creation of a tool to help emergency management consisting of a viewer that allows the information layers of the mentioned characterizations to be consulted.

Main Outputs / Results

The result of the analysis is synthesized in two elements, of continued utility during the life of the Plan Ribera:

  • A set of maps and tables that express the distribution by stretches of coast (With municipal or sub-municipal resolution) of a set of variables indicative of:
    • The probability that they will be affected with different severity ranges of Pollution (hazard maps).
    • The degree of vulnerability to ecological and socio-economic damage (maps ofsensitivity).
    • The levels of ecological and socioeconomic risks (risk maps).
  • A tool for the spatial management of actions on the coast during the Marine pollution events that will facilitate rapid consultation and practical exploitation of the previous maps.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment (MAGRAMA) will carry out The updating and continuous improvement of both elements. The most recent version of the first (Maps and tables) will be available for public consultation on the website of the MAGRAMA. These maps and tables can help to establish Phases and situations of emergency by the directors of the emergency of the different Contingency plans (Articles 6.1.a) and 7.1.b) of the SNR] and for the declaration by the Of the Autonomous Communities in their specially vulnerable areas for the purpose of Definition of the emergency phase in situation 2. They will also be made available to The competent bodies of the autonomous communities and the local authorities. Results generated by the management tool in cases of marine pollution.


Although this report draws mainly on the Plan Ribera experience, it is its stated purpose to extract general lessons that can be applied to other maritime planning contexts.

Contact Person

Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and Environment of Spain


Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Food and Environment of Spain