Within an increasingly busy seascape, competition between different uses of marine resources is growing. Offshore energy generation in particular is expanding rapidly, with implications for both existing users and nature conservation. Marine spatial planning is seen as the primary tool for mitigating conflicts and optimising resources allocation, and within its processes, effective and timely stakeholder involvement is essential to success. In reality, however, stakeholder involvement in planning is rarely seen as effective, especially from the stakeholders’ perspective. Using illustrative examples, the author reviews why stakeholder involvement is so important, what constitutes meaningful participation, and what prevents the successful incorporation of stakeholders into planning processes, examins issues of integration, transparency and communication. They look at how stakeholder engagement in planning process driven by pressure to expand offshore energy can have unique characteristics that need to be accounted for. Finally, they consider ways to make stakeholder participation in planning inclusive, meaningful, and transparent. In particular, they describe how participatory mapping can be used to collect quantitative, spatial stakeholder data that can be incorporated into trade-off analysis and optimisation processes.
This is a book chapter in Offshore Energy and Marine Spatial Planning.