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MSP-LSI - Maritime spatial planning and land-sea interactions

Funding Programme:

ESPON 2020

Funding Programme:

ESPON 2020


Completion Year:

Contact Person(s):

University of Liverpool, UK (lead contractor)


Implementation Period:
Specific Funding Programme:

ESPON 2020


Overall Budget: € 274.703,00

EU Contribution: € 246.525,00

About the Project:

About the project

Europe’s seas have gained attention in terms of policy making on both European and national level. The exploitation of seas and coastal areas for economic purposes is becoming increasingly relevant, but there are also growing concerns on environmental issues.

Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) is an increasingly important field of policy aiming at reconciling different demands on the marine space. Under the EU Directive on MSP, Member States need to both develop their own MSP policies and cooperate on these issues. In addition, they will use their plans to contribute to promoting the sustainable development and growth of maritime and coastal economies and the sustainable use of marine and coastal resources. MSP is identified by the EU’s Integrated Maritime Policy as a cross-cutting policy tool enabling public authorities and stakeholders to apply a coordinated, integrated and trans-boundary approach to marine development.

MSP-LSI is a Targeted Analyses project funded under the Specific Objective 2 of the ESPON 2020 Cooperation Programme. The main objective of the project is to improve stakeholders’ planning processes through the coordinated, comparable and systematic acquisition and analysis of both marine and terrestrial data and information at a European, regional and sub-regional level. 

The study will contribute to evidence-based, coherent and transparent decision-making in EU Member States considering land-sea interactions (LSI) in the development of national maritime spatial plans. It will also contribute to the extended use of territorial evidence (both quantitative and qualitative), thereby adding a European LSI perspective to other fields of policy development. 

Five case study areas have been selected for the research, covering different regional seas and types of coastline. The case study areas will be used to test the methodology to addressing LSI in territorial planning which is being developed through the research, as well as worked examples of associated LSI sector value chain analysis and associated LSI management.

The project seeks to: 

  • Define and operationalise consideration of land-sea interactions for the purpose of European Territorial Planning (including MSP and terrestrial planning);
  • Establish the main impacts on land of key maritime activities and how terrestrial planning can consider them with particular reference to activities, such as, energy, transport, fisheries, environment, tourism and urban development;
  • Derive learning from existing practices and approaches in managing LSI in Marine Spatial Planning (MSP);
  • Make recommendations on how best to manage LSI in MSP according to the MSP Directive and having regard to the specific characteristics of different marine and coastal regions and delivery of sustainable blue and green growth; and
  • Make recommendations about proper consultation practices with relevant stakeholders and authorities and the public concerned with land-sea interactions.

The anticipated outputs of the project are: 

  • A methodology to explore LSI at various scales (including the coastal interface);
  • Spatial representations (including maps and other informatics) and socio-economic data on LSI in key sectors potentially including energy, transport, fisheries, environment, tourism and urban development relevant to the LSI methodology applied to the case studies;
  • An understanding of LSI management opportunities and risks focused on case studies agreed with the project Steering Committee; and
  • A set of policy recommendations for the authorities and stakeholders involved in MSP processes to more fully take into account LSI in decision-making.

Project partners

University of Liverpool, UK (lead contractor)

Ecorys, BE

University of Malaga, ES

Ecologic Institute, DE