Combining maritime uses, either through joint operations or joint installations, can reduce spatial pressures on European Seas and create new opportunities for socio-economic development, along with potential environmental benefits. ‘Multi-use’ implies a radical change from the concept of exclusive resource rights to an inclusive sharing of resources by one or more users. Thus, multi-use often does not come naturally, but shall be motivated by clear drivers and added-values. This also implies that ‘multi-use’ solutions are not exclusively better than ‘single-use’ options. It is important to carefully consider local conditions when deciding on whether to favor single – or multi-use in a given location. Further development of multi-use requires actions mainly from the users themselves, but also backed by research and legislation at all levels. Whereas the concept of “spatial efficiency” promoting as much multi-uses as possible in order to leave as much space as possible free of use is very attractive at a theoretical level, practical evidence is missing.
Thus, political support is necessary to promote the set-up of demonstration plants and pilot tests, which may hopefully provide convincing data with respect to positive environmental results, suitable technical solutions and economies of cooperation and scale. There is already a good level of communication between the various bodies dealing with maritime spatial planning within the Baltic Sea Region, providing a good basis for creating such cross-sectoral win-win situations.