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ICZM in practice

Land-Sea Interactions

Understanding and accommodating land-sea interactions (LSI) are critical to the successful delivery of maritime spatial planning and integrated management at the coast. The Maritime Spatial Planning Directive (2014/89/EU) explicitly requires Member States to take into account LSI in its Articles 4, 6 and 7. Specifically, Member States may use formal or informal processes, such as integrated coastal management, and reflect them in their maritime spatial plans. The MSP Directive highlights the interrelationship of marine and coastal activities and the benefits that planning can bring to coastal economies and ecosystems. The Directive requires that Member States establish their ecosystem-based maritime spatial plans by 31 March 2021.

The inclusion of LSI in the MSP Directive recognises that effective maritime spatial planning cannot take place unless consideration is given to the interface between terrestrial and marine environments. Interactions between land and sea areas can encompass the run-off of nutrients from an agricultural area into a freshwater body that ends up in coastal waters and contributes to eutrophication further offshore, as well as the laying of a cable across an intertidal area to connect an offshore wind farm to a national energy grid.

DG Environment commissioned a study to develop the brochure "Land Sea interactions in Maritime Spatial Planning". The study analysed LSI through the planning process. The brochure:

  • provides some insights on how to address LSI in the development of marine spatial plans,
  • covers eight of the most typical marine development sectors, from aquaculture to offshore energy, along with the key messages and issues to be considered,
  • identifies environmental, socio-economic and technical LSIs,
  • includes examples to illustrate good practices, and
  • includes the issues and information planners need to consider.


ourcoastOURCOAST: project overview

OURCOAST was a three-year project commissioned by the Directorate General (DG) Environment of the European Commission to support and ensure the exchange of experiences and best practices in coastal planning and management.

The OURCOAST initiative was made possible thanks to the European Parliament that voted a dedicated resource for this purpose into the EU budget in 2008.

Through OURCOAST, the European Commission ensured that lessons learned from the coastal management experiences and practices were shared and made accessible to those who are seeking sustainable solutions to their coastal management practices.

OURCOAST focused in particular on adaptation to risks and the impacts of climate change, information and communication systems, planning and land management instruments, and institutional coordination mechanisms.

OURCOAST was a further step in the joint efforts of the European Commission, Member States, coastal regions and networks to support and implement sustainable coastal planning and management.


The OURCOAST interactive database has been discontinued, but a copy of the OURCOAST best practices is stored and can be downloaded from this page.

You can also click here to see a compilation of the ICZM projects of OURCOAST integrated in the European Atlas of the Seas.

In addition, the European Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) Platform holds a database of practices and projects with updated information and case studies, many of them dealing with ICZM and Land Sea Interactions. The MSP Platform serves as the gateway and exchange forum for all involved in MSP throughout Europe.