Overview of MSP related maritime uses

Current main uses:

Ammunition storage sites Offshore renewable energy
Aquaculture Ports
Cables and pipelines Radars
Coastal protection Scientific research
Fisheries Shipping
Military Tourism and leisure
Nature conservation Underwater cultural heritage

Which marine spatial plans exist?

Legal framework

The planning process at the national level has a legal basis in the Marine Environment Act, amended in 2012 to include the development of a MSP. Its name was also amended to “Act for the protection of marine environment and for the organization of maritime spatial planning in the maritime regions under the Belgian jurisdiction”. A Royal Decree of 20 November 2012 dictates the establishment of an advisory committee and the procedure for the adoption of an MSP in the Belgian maritime regions. The Royal Decree of 20 March 2014 adopts the MSP.

In the spring of 2017, the review process of the Belgian MSP for the period 2020-2026 kicked off with an informal consultation. The received reactions were transformed into a first draft of the new plan and the revision process entered into its formal phase in the same year. A pre-draft of the plan was presented to the advisory committee, a dedicated committee consisting of all competent Belgian federal and Flemish government services, in autumn 2017. Their comments and suggestions were included in an adapted version.

On 20 April 2018, the Council of Ministers adopted the pre-draft MSP (thus becoming a draft) and a large-scale formal consultation process was launched in July 2018. The public sent in around 150 different contributions as regards content and more than 40,000 contributions via petition letters and automatic emails. As part of the consultation process, a public hearing was organized and the neighboring and interested countries were contacted to provide their thoughts on the draft plan.

After studying the comments made by the public, other government services, the industry and NGO’s, the plan was finalized and signed on the 22nd of May 2019. The plan entered into force in spring 2020.

Currently the Marine Environment Act is under revision and will change the duration of the MSP from six to eight years. After adopting the new law, the Royal Decree regarding the procedure will be evaluated and reissued.


Federal Public Service
Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment – Marine Environment Service

Mr. Jesse Verhalle – Marine Attaché

Last updated: June 2022
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