Maritime Spatial Planning Directive (2014/85/EU) establishes a framework for national and transboundary maritime spatial planning initiatives, with EU Member States required to set up maritime spatial plans at the latest by 31st March 2021.
The obligations set for Member States are mainly procedural and affect plan-making processes rather than the substantive content of maritime spatial plans. The main requirement is the obligation on Member States to develop maritime spatial plans which identify the spatial and temporal distribution of relevant existing and future activities (Article 8), taking into account economic, social and ecological aspect and applying an ecosystem-based approach.
Member states are at different stages in their plan making process. Below is a summary of the situation in the Celtic Seas
March 2015; National Marine Plan published covering area between Mean High Water Springs to 200 nautical miles.
May 2015; Scottish Marine Regions Order enacted to define 12 marine regions.
Marine Planning Partnerships have been set up to add local information to the National Marine Plan.
Consultation on a draft NI National Marine Plan is taking place and adoption is expected by end of 2017.
Eastern Regions inshore and offshore Marine Plans completed; Southern Region inshore and offshore Marine Plans in preparation (draft reports). Remaining 7 Marine Areas to be prepared in parallel by 2021.
Under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009, Welsh Ministers are responsible for developing Marine Plans for Welsh inshore and offshore waters and a National Marine Plan is currently being developed
Formal consultation on the Welsh National Marine Plan is expected to take place in mid-2017 following the publication of the Hendry Review of Tidal Lagoons as this will have significant implications for a number of proposed schemes on the Welsh coast.
To date, the French National Sea and Seashore Strategy Framework (Stratégie Nationale pour la Mer et le Littoral) is currently being reviewed. The final version is to be adopted at the end of 2016, early 2017. The National Strategy sets the high level objectives for French marine waters up to 200 nautical miles.
Republic of Ireland
Competent authority for MSP is the newly formed Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government is currently working to define the technical parameters to be provided by the Marine Institute to prepare a Marine Plan for Ireland’s territorial sea and EEZ.
Isle of Man
As a UK Crown Dependency, but not a member of the EU the IoM does not have to implement the provisions of the MSP Directive. However as a signatory to the OSPAR Convention and United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity as well as a newly designated UNESCO Biosphere Region, there are good reasons to use the principles of the Directive. Thus far although there has been some activity toward MSP there are no marine plans expected in the short term.