Planning of the seas in Sweden can be (and has been) made in different ways. However, as the Government are to decide the Swedish marine spatial plans according to the EU-directive 2014 / 89 (implemented in Swedish law by the Marine Spatial Planning Ordinance – “Förordning SFS 2014:89”-  only available in Swedish), the plans will only consist of governmental interests. The marine spatial plans is an important tool to implement the Swedish Marine Strategy made by the government.

There are two important ways to plan the Swedish sea according to Swedish law:

First, the Government can give the mandate to one of the national authorities to plan in act to support the sector they represent. This could be described as planning based on a national, geographical perspective. The planning may focus on energy production, energy distribution, fishery, nature protection, shipping, defence and several other sectors. The planning can be made on land and in the sea as far out as the EEZ. For more information on the national, marine spatial planning; visit Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management.

Second, the municipalities have (and will continue to have) a responsibility by law to make comprehensive plans that stretches from land out to the territorial sea. This means that some municipalities can plan the sea as far as 12 nautical miles from land. There is also a possibility for the municipalities to cooperate as regions – which may allow them to make a regional spatial plan. At the moment, only the regions of Skåne and Stockholm has this opportunity given by law. It is important to notice that very few of the 85 municipalities bordering the sea have actually made a comprehensive plan that covers the sea. For more information about physical planning and comprehensive planning by the municipalities in the sea, visit the National Board of Housing, Building and Planning.

The governmental marine spatial plan (that should be decided by the latest of 31th of March in 2021), will have to interact with 85 municipalities. This also means that the territorial sea will be covered by two plans; the guiding comprehensive plan from a municipality and the national, governmental marine spatial plan – which also is a guiding plan. The EEZ are according to law only a matter for the Swedish government. According to the implementation of the EU directive, the governmental marine spatial plan does not cover the area closest to land (the governmental marine spatial plans starts 1 nautical mile outside the baseline and includes the EEZ).

The total length of the Swedish coast (according to Swedish Maritime Administration) is estimated to be 48 000 km, including the length of the shorelines of islands (the earth is approximately 40 000 km at the equator). Sweden borders nine neighbouring countries, which means that consultations have been held according to the Espoo Convention with Finland, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Denmark and Norway. If you are interested in the international opinions considering the Swedish marine spatial plans, visit the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management.