St. Paul catacomb in Rabat, MoroccoThe regulation of underground space utilization can be found under Article 32 Paragraph (2) Regulation Number 26 of 2007 on the matters of Spatial Planning. According to the law, such conduct might be implemented either underground or vertical. What comprises of Underground Utilization will be any utilization made into managing an underground space, which is the area located under the surface of land for a wide variety of activities. This form of land and space utilization can serve as a solution to a number issues and needs concerning the utilization of space on the land surface, among many others in order to prevent clashes or conflict in any underground space management and use. This regulation also exists to ensure that no abuse is given the use of underground area. This guideline of use as stated in the law is effective on the date of its announcement, which is February 24th 2014. This regulation’s issuance is mandatory, protected under the Regulation No. 26 of 2007 on matters relevant to The Planning of Spatial Area, and intended as the Government and stakeholder’s reference in light of such issues arising in the future. The scope of this regulation is as follows:

  1. General Law and Provisions;
  2. Technical Law and Provisions;
  3. Underground utilisation planning.

The General Law and Provisions concerning Underground Space Use

A number of aspects that should be taken into considerations in regards to the underground space utilization:

  1. The basic needs of underground area use should be conducted under the basis of considerations, further elaborated in the following points;
  2. It should serve as a solution to overcome the land limitation on the land surface;
  3. It should be a part of the integration and actualizing activities;
  4. It should be able to maintain and improve the quality of land and space’s use;
  5. The foundation and principle of underground space use, consisted of the principle of sustainability, harmony and alignment, transparency, effectiveness, solidarity, legal fairness, certainty, comfort, safety, and security;
  6. The classification of underground space use which comprised of underground space use according to the facility’s type and its services’ scope and scale;
  7. Studies made to investigate proper underground area use, comprised of considerations such as environmental, geological, social, economic, and disaster-handling feasibility;
  8. General laws relating to underground utilisation, namely the ones that should be implemented in the practice.
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The Technical Law and Provisions concerning Underground Space Use

The technical law is divided into laws regulating shallow underground space utilisation and deep ones.

The shallow underground utilization is taking these numbers factors into consideration

  1. Which part of it blend or is near the adjacent surface area or activities;
  2. Which part of it requires or can be used as an access to go in and out of the shallow underground space.
  3. Which resources reside in it
  4. Whether or not the space has been investigated and studied for feasibility of its proper use yet.

On the other hand, the deep underground area use takes these factors as considerations:

  1. The deep area connects between regional, activities, and/or primary network
  2. The deep area requires a high standard of protection and safety
  3. There are resources residing in the deep area
  4. Whether or not the space has been investigated and studied for feasibility of its proper use yet.

Technical recommendation is mandatory to be considered for both public and private interests. Permit is especially required if it is for private use.

Underground utilisation planning.

The utilisation of underground space is conducted according to the plan consisting of:

  1. Conformity of its use with the structure and patterns found on the surface;
  2. Proper directions of utilizations; and
  3. Proper requirements of such.

The study of underground utilisation plans will be used as one of the mandatory prerequisites for proper underground space utilisation conducts. Any composition and conducts made to issues relating to this aspect will fall under the Spatial Planning law. The stages of underground space utilisation is comprised of:

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  1. Determining factors in proper requirements of underground space use;
  2. Determining factors on activity and utility types according to pre-established classification;
  3. Study and analysis;
  4. The formulation of plan and its implementation.

If necessary or required, the regional authority might compile guidelines of implementation and/or technical matters as part of making this PU No.02/2014 regulation effective.

Deby Selina Panjaitan