Assessment of collective pressure in marine spatial planning: The current approach of EU Member States

Trine Skovgaard Kirkfeldt*, Jesper Harbo Andersen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


We report on EU Member States' assessment of the collective pressure through cumulative impact assessments (CIA) in their implementation of the EU Maritime Spatial Planning Directive (MSPD). While the MSPD is ambiguous on how to approach the assessment of collective pressures, the present study is based on a preunderstanding that CIAs are required in marine spatial planning (MSP) for two reasons. Firstly, to address all relevant human activities and their pressures in order to comply with the concept of an ‘ecosystem-based approach’ and to ensure a good environmental status. Secondly, indirectly, to ensure that land-sea interactions are taken into account. Our results show few and inadequate examples of CIA in national MSP processes. Most MSP processes address collective pressure through CIA as part of a strategic environmental impact assessment. In conclusion, while the MSPD requires MSP to ensure collective pressure is kept below a level compatible with good environmental status, as part of an ecosystem-based approach, the study found few examples of ecosystem-based MSP.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105448
JournalOcean & Coastal Management
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Collective pressure
  • Cumulative impacts
  • Ecosystem-based approach
  • Marine spatial planning
  • Multiple pressures
  • Policy ambiguity


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