Gaia Consulting Oy will prepare the impact assessment of the Maritime Spatial Plans
The impact assessment of Maritime Spatial Plan drafts is about to begin. Plans are drafted for three planning areas: The Gulf of Finland, Archipelago Sea and Southern sea of Bothnia as well as the Northern Bothnian Sea, Quark and Bothnian Bay. The impact assessment will be conducted by Gaia Consulting Oy with WSP Finland as its subcontractor.
The impact assessment examines what kind of significant effects the plan drafts have ecologically, economically, socially, and culturally. The assessment will be conducted in tight co-operation with the Finnish Maritime Spatial Planning coordination team.
“Maritime Spatial Planning identifies areas with the most Blue Growth potential for maritime industries. The assessment provides information on the impact the maritime spatial plans would have if realised. In addition to assisting Maritime Spatial Planning, this information also serves authorities, steering of marine activities, and co-operation between sectors,” says Mari Pohja-Mykrä, Maritime Spatial Planning Coordinator.
“The assessment increases our understanding of the effects of the identified areas’ potential use, especially regarding coordinating various activities and potential conflicts. For example, improving the status of the marine environment and identifying potential and significant offshore wind power locations are goals that are handled simultaneously as well as coordinated,” says Anu Vaahtera from Gaia Consulting.
The goal of Maritime Spatial Planning is to reach a good ecological status of the marine environment and simultaneously support Blue Growth. Relevant maritime sectors include e.g. maritime transport and logistics, fishing and aquaculture, energy, tourism, and maritime industry. The coordination of the needs of these industries for the purpose of improving the marine environment status requires tight co-operation and new approaches. In Finland, coastal Regional Councils are responsible for Maritime Spatial Planning as well as regional land use planning. Hence, the assessment of Maritime Spatial Plans can also be utilised in regional development and land use planning.
The impact assessment will begin in January 2020 and is expected to be completed by September 2020.