The Countryside Agency has a simple remit. As it says on its website: it is there to make the quality of life better for people in the countryside and the quality of the countryside better for everyone. Unfortunately, it is soon to disappear.
A new Bill proposes to establish a small new London- based body, the Commission for Rural Communities, to act as a rural advocate, expert adviser and independent watchdog.
While the Campaign to Protect Rural England welcomes the establishment of the Commission for Rural Communities, and the priority given to dealing with economic and social disadvantage, we are concerned that it should be given sufficient power to continue the work of the Countryside Agency and ensure that the quality of life for people in the countryside and the quality of the countryside really does get better for everyone.
Alongside the new Commission, the Government proposes to create a new integrated agency out of the bones of the Countryside Agency, English Nature and the Rural Delivery Service.
This will be a key body, delivering a wide spectrum of resources and support for rural areas on the ground.
However, functions such as transport are being hived off to the economically-driven regional development agencies.
We have yet to be convinced that RDAs, such as Advantage West Midlands, are geared up to take on board the social delivery functions currently administered and promoted so well by the Countryside Agency.
There is a danger these will take a back seat to core economic goals when it comes to setting AWM's budgets.
In particular, the good practices developed and supported by the Countryside Agency in the region's market towns and villages - one could cite parish plans, the market towns initiative, and community grants - will be at risk.
There are no guarantees that these initiatives will not be halted by the RDAs or underfunded if they survive. These are things which really do deliver a better countryside for all.
So what should AWM in particular do? It should resist the temptation to rush forward with some bold new initiative or try to reinvent the wheel.
In the case of rural delivery there is a need for a period of stability to see through the implementation of current initiatives, ensure they are effective, and overcome the many barriers to their implementation.
It should also ensure that essential research to identify and prioritise critical services for the region's rural areas goes ahead quickly.
As for the integrated agency, it must have teeth. It must take fully on board its predecessor's commitment to protecting the region's landscape.
It must be single minded and present a united front. It must avoid conflicts of interest between protecting the landscape, enhancing wildlife and promoting access to the countryside. It must develop strategies which deliver both.
The CPRE has worked hard with Government, local authorities, regional organisations and other environmental bodies to ensure that this region's rural areas undergo the broadly based rural renaissance they so desperately need.
We will be watching the Government's proposed changes closely to ensure that they help rather than hinder that goal and that environmental and social goals do not play second fiddle to narrower economic aspirations