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Land Sea Interactions: an integral part of the maritime and coast al planning

Joanna Constantinidou

Understanding and addressing the interaction between land and sea, in both directions, is crucial to the sustainable development and management of both marine and coastal areas, as well as the activities carried out in them. A Land-Sea Interactions (LSI) analysis is not an autonomous action but is considered an integral part of the maritime and coastal planning process, as required by both the EU Marine Spatial Planning Directive and the Mediterranean Protocol on Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM).

LSIs are studied and addressed at three levels:

at the level of the interactivity of physical elements and their dynamics;

at the level of interactions between uses/activities and marine or coastal space; 

at the design level for land and sea space.

The results of such interactions are erosion, sea level rise, environmental pressures on land (sometimes in local communities) from marine activities and vice versa, the necessary coherence and design compatibility for land and sea areas in the same coastal area, etc. It is clear that the LSI assessment counts not only coastal activities and uses, but also those that exist in inland terrestrial areas but that have consequences for marine areas (sometimes through discharge / pollution through hydrological basins). Flow and pressure mapping are of particular importance for locating and estimating LSI in each region.

The case of Cyprus

In Cyprus, the management of LSI is implemented through maritime spatial plans, in the framework of the Maritime Spatial Planning Law No 144(I)/2017, which transposed the EU Maritime Spatial Planning Directive. The first maritime spatial plan will geographically cover the exclusive economic zone of Cyprus; this plan is currently under development and is expected to be finalised in March 2021 and then submitted to the European Commission. The marine projects (e.g. offshore renewable energy projects, submarine cables and breakwaters) that fall under the maritime spatial plan will follow the appropriate licensing procedure that incorporates the relevant environmental impact assessment opinion. This plan will take into account the local coastal plans that are developed by the Department of Town Planning and Housing. To this end, the responsible authority for the implementation of the Maritime Spatial Planning Law is the Deputy Ministry for Shipping and the responsible authority for the ICZM Protocol is the Department of Environment.

This article appears in the A regional geography of COVID-19 Issue of TerritoriALL

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This article appears in the A regional geography of COVID-19 Issue of TerritoriALL