Introduction

This report presents the results of the impact assessment of the Finnish Maritime Spatial Plan. The documents used in the assessment were three draft Maritime Spatial Plans drawn up for Finnish coastal and sea areas, as well as the notation and zoning cards associated with them. The Maritime Spatial Planning Coordination Group was working on the draft plans while the assessment work was in progress. The assessment results can be used as background material during the consultation phase of the draft plans in spring 2020. 

The maritime spatial planning process was based on cooperation with stakeholders. The process started with scenario work, on the basis of which a vision for sustainable use of the Finnish marine area for 2050 was drawn up with the stakeholders, and the objectives and roadmaps for the planning areas for 2030 were produced. 

The impact assessment of the plan will support decision-making and can be used in Maritime Spatial Plan updates. These updates must take place at least every ten years and be part of future sectoral or regional maritime spatial planning processes. Different actors in the marine areas can also use the information produced by the impact assessment when planning their activities. 

The background to the assessment of the Maritime Spatial Plans is discussed at the beginning of the report in Chapter 2. Chapter 3 describes the need for the assessment, the objectives set for this work, and the methodology used in it. It also discusses factors that hampered the assessment work. 

The assessment results are presented in Chapters 4 to 6. Chapter 4 describes the impacts of the draft Maritime Spatial Plans on the different sectors that maritime spatial planning concerns. The sectors examined in the report are the protection and management of the marine environment, offshore wind power, maritime logistics, marine industries, fishing, aquaculture, tourism and recreation, cultural heritage, blue biotechnology and blue economy innovations, mining and national defence. Chapter 5 contains the results of the regional assessments carried out for the three planning areas: 1) the Gulf of Finland, 2) the Archipelago Sea and the southern Bothnian Sea, and 3) the northern Bothnian Sea, Kvarken and the Bothnian Bay. The assessment results concerning the different planning areas can be used as independent entities separate from this report. Some of the assessment results are consistent for all three areas, in which case these observations are repeated separately for each one. Chapter 6 discusses the picture of the Maritime Spatial Plan’s overall impacts that emerged as a result of the assessment. 

Finally, Chapter 7 contains general conclusions and key recommendations related to the maritime spatial planning process.

The assessment was commissioned by the Regional Council of Southwest Finland and prepared in January–April 2020. The authors are Jussi Airaksinen, Tuomas Raivio, Mari Saario, Fanny Suominen and Anu Vaahtera from Gaia Consulting, and Hanna Hannula, Elisa Lähde and Tuuli Rantala from WSP Finland.

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