Cables and pipelines
On the bottom of the North Sea lies a network of roughly 4,000 km of cables for data traffic, telecommunication and electricity. The cables have to lie at a certain depth below the seabed and are not allowed to cross certain areas that have been reserved for other activities.
The space taken up by pipelines and cables will increase yet further as the overall network of telephony and data cables increases. In the Memorandum on Spatial Planning the Dutch government has assumed that if the present policy continues unchanged, it won’t be long before one-third of the surface of the seabed of the Dutch North Sea is taken up by these cables.
The number of kilometres of pipeline in the Dutch EEZ rose between 1980 and 2000 from 400 km to over 3,000 km.
On either side of a pipeline or cable on the seabed is a safety zone of 500 m. Within that area, no activities may take place on the seabed. Both cables and pipelines in the North Sea are subject to mining legislation.