EU gives maritime spatial planning guidance

European commission sets out common principles for planning sustainable European seas

The European Commission proposed a set of common EU principles for maritime spatial planning in a new policy paper on Tuesday. The paper sets out how governments should plan the full range of marine activities, including offshore wind farms, marine nature reserves, fish farms, shipping and tourism.

Pierre Schellekens of the commission's maritime affairs directorate said the commission's aim was to help encourage sustainable development of the continent's seas. Maritime spatial planning was still a relatively new concept and the paper would "spark debate" between member states, he said. It is the "first concrete delivery" of a new maritime strategy announced by the commission in late 2007 (EED 10/10/07).

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