The main legislative act for spatial planning in Malta is the Development Planning Act of 2016 which also addresses development at sea.

The Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) Directive was transposed into Maltese legislation in October 2016, through the MSP Regulations (S.L. 552.27) under the provisions of the main Act. The regulations assign the Strategic Plan for Environment and Development (SPED), or any subsequent plan, as Malta’s Maritime Spatial Plan and delegates the Planning Authority as the Competent Authority for MSP.

The Strategic Plan for Environment and Development (SPED) was adopted by Parliament in 2015 and sets out the strategic framework for development on land and at sea.

Through the transposition process, a governance framework was put in place to enable coordination and cooperation amongst different regulators and government entities having a statutory role in regulating the use of maritime space. The MSP Technical Committee is chaired by the Planning Authority and has representatives from the Environment and Resources Authority, the Superintendence for Cultural Heritage, the Continental Shelf Department, Transport Malta and the Department for Fisheries and Aquaculture. Meeting at least four times a year, this committee is to provide technical support to the Planning Authority in the implementation of MSP.


Relevant Technical Information

  • Malta’s Internal waters are approx. 199 km² 
  • Malta’s Territorial waters are approx. 3,830 km² 
  • Malta has not yet declared an Exclusive Economic Zone
  • Involvement of The competent authority, the Planning Authority (PA), falling within the remit of the Ministry for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects
  • Dissemination and formation on MSP and Ocean Literacy at national level

Recommendations from the Committee are presented to the PA’s Executive Council where they are discussed in specific MSP related meetings, for which the Heads of the entities represented in the MSP Technical Committee are invited in accordance with the provisions of the Development Planning Act of In the late 2020, the Maltese government instructed the Planning Authority to commence the review of the SPED which will lead to the preparation of a new Spatial Strategy for Environment and Development and will be the new MSP plan for the Maltese Islands.

The MSPMED project is assisting the Planning Authority on issues related to data management and governance which are feeding into this review process