The management of Natura 2000 sites faces several challenges. Responsible authorities need to achieve specific conservation objectives and they need to balance these objectives with social and economic interests. A study of two cases, one in England and one in the Netherlands, shows that the initial choices about the organisation of a deliberative planning process can create a solid basis for further co-operation. This paper contributes to the knowledge about the design and consequences of deliberative planning processes. It shows how a specific process design can strengthen the possibilities to develop social capital, trust and reciprocity, but also how it can result in a deliberative quicksand, characterised by ongoing discussions and even conflicts between the various stakeholders.

The article can be found at the website of Journal of Environmental Planning and Management