EU draft directive to coordinate maritime activities

Member states to produce offshore & coastal spatial plans

A draft directive that would require EU member states to increase regulatory coordination over all maritime and coastal activities has been published by the European Commission. The proposed law would support so-called "blue growth", says the Commission.

Activities such as offshore wind energy generation, submarine cable and pipeline laying, shipping, fishing and aquaculture are increasing in EU marine waters and coastal areas, "but too little coordination can lead to competition for space and pressure on valuable resources", states the Commission.

The draft directive would require member states to create maritime spatial plans for managing a full range of offshore activities  as well as companion coastal management strategies. The latter could assist in managing the construction of infrastructure needed to connect offshore wind farms to onshore energy grids, according to the Commission.

Cost savings are expected to result from implementation of the draft directive's measures. "Using a single instrument to balance all interests should increase certainty for investors and reduce the administrative burden for national administrations and operators, while preserving ecosystem services," emphasises the Commission.

Research has indicated that acceleration of investment in offshore wind and aquaculture would generate between €60m (for an acceleration of one year) and €600m (acceleration of three years) across the EU by 2020, notes the Commission.

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