The HEFER consultation portal will open on 11th February 2020

*** Training videos for Historic England and ALGAO members are available for viewing at ***

All general Countryside Stewardship queries should be directed to Telephone 03000 200 301 (Opening times: 8:30am to 5pm Monday to Friday). If you have a Natural England adviser please contact them for Higher Tier application and agreement queries.

Any outstanding queries regarding HEFER payments should be sent to and copied to

ALGAO members should check the ALGAO Countryside Committee webpage for updates and send any queries or issues to the HER help address on the Contact page.

Historic England & Natural England advisers should address any issues to the relevant Help address on the Contact page.

The updated 2019 Service Standard is now available to download and use

This year the full range of Countryside Stewardship schemes are named in the 'Tier' column found in the HER/H.Eng consultations section of the SHINE website. Tiers named for the first time are 'Water Capital Grant' and 'Woodland Only Higher Tier' (previously they were called 'Mid' or 'Higher'). ALGAO members should treat 'Water Capital Grant' consultations as Mid Tier consultations and check paragraphs 4.3.3 and 4.3.4 of the Mid Tier manual for a list of the capital works covered. When working on a 'Woodland Only Higher Tier' consultation ALGAO members should assess the whole holding, not just the areas of woodland.

The Countryside Stewardship  UPDATED Manual Chapter 5.4 explains how an applicant should consult on the historic environment. Rural Payments Agency are working in partnership with the umbrella body for professional archaeologists and historic records specialist staff associated with Local Authorities - ALGAO - and also with Historic England (formerly English Heritage). This website provides a web portal for all CS pre-application consultations to be logged/sent digitally.

A HEFER Request is sent by the SHINE web portal to:

  • the relevant Local Authority Historic Environment Service(s) for them to add known historic environment features (above and below-ground archaeological sites, historic buildings and landscape features)  as SHINE features and to add management recommendations for each site (Higher Tier only).
  • Historic England where a designated historic asset (Scheduled Monument, Registered Park or Registered Battlefield) is present within the consultation area.

Responses will be completed within 20 working days from request - completed in part automatically where a Local Authority is unable to contribute.

A CS Applicant (and RPA/NE adviser) will receive an email containing a link to download each completed Response.

A Mid-Tier HEFER Response will consist of a series of HEFER Maps in PDF form showing all SHINE and designated features within the consultation area, at various scales) and a HEFER Report, tabling each feature and information on what form it takes, how significant management would be, and for designated assets, management recommendations. A Higher Tier HEFER Response adds management recommendations for every SHINE feature in the consultation area. Please also refer to the Understanding Your HEFER - tips for applicants.

The CS Manual explains how to use the HEFER Response to verify and check location of options and capital items, and their eligibility for Historic Environment Options.

For queries, please consult the relevant organisation or the relevant online Countryside Stewardship documents.

Last Modified: Jan 12, 2020