Several EU member states are working on spatial plans for their part of the North Sea.
For example for the purpose of nature conservation, the construction of offshore wind farms, subsea cables and shipping routes. However, most marine spatial planning is carried out on a national level and largely ignores the possible benefits of cross-border cooperation. The various marine spatial plans of European countries have been put together, which enabled identification of potential bottlenecks. Joining forces with neighbouring countries could prove to be a much more efficient way forward. A first step in this direction is the EU’s MASPNOSE project that brings together spatial planning practitioners and researchers in order to deal with these bottlenecks. Now the question is whether or not national authorities are ready to cooperate. MASPNOSE seeks to encourage and facilitate such cross-border cooperation.
MASPNOSE will not deliver a plan to conduct MSP in cross-border areas, but will rather be an experiment on how MSP could be executed, based on two case studies. The case study that has already been decided on will focus on the border between the Netherlands and Belgium. The second case study will be determined in the coming weeks.
The Preparatory Action on Maritime Spatial Planning in the North Sea (MASPNOSE) was officially launched on 2 March in Rotterdam. Participants of the meeting were LEI and IMARES, both part of Wageningen UR, and partner organisations from Belgium, Denmark, and Germany. On the second day, representatives of the European Commission and governments of the Member States involved joined the meeting.The next MASPNOSE workshop will take place in may 2011.