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What is spatial planning?

Spatial planning is a concept that has been given prominence through the European Spatial Development Perspective (ESDP) in the late 1990’s and applied to UK terrestrial planning since the early 2000’s. A key emphasis of spatial planning is that it is territorial (spatial) and seeks to integrate potentially conflicting or competing policies in space and time. It has been defined as ‘critical thinking about space and place as a basis for action or intervention’ (RTPI, 2003).

Spatial planning has been increasingly viewed as a solution to the twin problems of the sea – degradation of marine resources and increasing competition for space among human use activities – and many nations are now implementing systems of marine planning for their marine areas.