Case Study 1: Specific Cross-Border Issues and Opportunities

Understanding specific cross border issues and opportunities

The effectiveness of the MSP process as a whole and the contribution of maritime sectors to its implementation is affected by the dynamics of sectoral objectives, institutional arrangements and decision-making processes. As part of the SIMCelt project, a case study approach was used to understand issues and opportunities within the shipping & navigational safety and offshore renewable energy sectors from a regional perspective in relation to the MSP process.

These sectors were selected due to their economic importance to Member States, expected growth, the potential conflict between them and the need for coherent planning, especially of ORE, so as not to compromise shipping and navigational safety in the Celtic Seas. According to a study conducted by ABPmer in 2016, the shipping and port sector is estimated to support more than £7.8 billion of GVA in the countries bordering the Celtic Seas and offshore renewable energy has the potential to emerge as an important sector with growth expected across all technologies but most significantly in offshore wind and tidal energy.

Increasing demand for space by ORE technologies must be considered and planned for in the context of existing uses such as shipping so as to avoid conflicts and enhance the potential for synergies and co-existence. Member States and their competent authorities are at different stages of marine plan development and it is important that issues experienced within these two sectors are accounted for and incorporated into plan development for effective and coherent planning. The case study therefore identifies these issues through structured interviews with eight relevant competent authorities in Ireland, France and the UK including:

Agency Sector Country
Commissioners of Irish Lights (Irish Lights) Shipping & Navigational Safety Ireland (ROI & NI)
Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) Offshore Renewable Energy Ireland
Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) Shipping & Navigational Safety UK
Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Offshore Renewable Energy Northern Ireland
The Crown Estate Offshore Renewable Energy England, Wales and Northern Ireland
Marine Scotland Offshore Renewable Energy Scotland
Marine Management Organisation Offshore Renewable Energy England
Préfet Maritime of the Atlantic Offshore Renewable Energy/Shipping & Navigation France (Atlantic Region)


Issues within the individual sectors, as well as when they come together in the same marine space and the opportunities for both sectors stemming from the implementation of MSP, were explored under a number of themes including:

  • Involvement of sectors in MSP
  • Data and planning evidence for MSP
  • Navigational risk from the development of ORE
  • Co-location between both sectors
  • Factors considered during the planning of ORE
  • Recommended timescales for the review of marine plans
  • Role of MSP in addressing current challenges

Findings show the importance of early engagement of these sectors in the MSP process so as to resolve any potential risks, conflicts and synergies that can arise between both sectors. The case study has also contributed to identifying practice and policy based recommendations as each of the agencies interviewed had operational experience in one or both of the sectors.