Mr Meacher's comments formed part of the government's response to the environment select committee's report into the Countryside Agency.
The report says that the agency will help deliver this objective by:
- providing a national source of research and advice about countryside issues
- being a key partner of the RDAs as they develop their regional strategies
- playing a significant role in planning issues in the countryside
Mr Meacher said: 'We welcome this constructive and helpful report from the select committee and were pleased to note the committee's support both for the creation of the agency, and for the publication of a rural white paper.
'Creation of the agency is a significant step forward in our objective of ensuring that an integrated approach is taken to conserving and enhancing the countryside while, at the same time, meeting the social and economic needs of rural communities.'
The report of the environment, transport and regional affairs committee's (environment sub-committee) inquiry into the Countryside Agency was published on 28 January 1999. Michael Meacher and Elliot Morley gave oral evidence to the committee on 25 November 1998.