Northern Ireland Knowledge Exchange for Transboundary Marine Spatial Planning in the Irish Sea

Linda McElduff, Heather Ritchie, Joseph Ansong

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

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With funding from EMFF, the knowledge exchange project was based on an in-depth desk-based literature review examining existing and future marine plans in the Irish Sea maritime area. We reviewed transboundary planning processes and policy across the UK and Ireland. We conducted a comparison of the interrelationships of those marine plans and policies, and we highlighted issues and opportunities for the Irish Sea maritime area, within the context of a biodiversity crisis, a climate emergency and post-Brexit. As part of the empirical research, two capacity building workshops and targeted interviews were conducted across the Irish Sea maritime area to demonstrate the complexities of transboundary working but also to highlight the opportunities to strengthen the implementation of MSP across the Irish Sea. The project has revealed many good working relationships exist across the Irish Sea, and that there is an appetite for more effective joined up transboundary planning, but there are many challenges and institutional barriers, in terms of a lack of resources (staffing and funding), jurisdictional challenges (working across 6 administrations with different planning systems and timescales) and differing political agendas. Taken together that may create a policy vacuum for promoting truly effective transboundary planning. Within the wider context, these are threats that may prevent transboundary marine planning going beyond the current ‘information exchange’ that exists for policy consultations, draft marine plans and projects. The report concludes with some steps that can be taken to improve current transboundary arrangements.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUlster University
Commissioning bodyDepartment of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Northern Ireland
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - Apr 2023


  • Marine Planning
  • Transboundary Cooperation
  • Irish Sea
  • Northern Ireland
  • Knowledge Exchange


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