FirstGroup sets up team for green awareness push

The UK's largest bus operator is establishing a senior in-house PR team to promote what it sees as the green credentials of bus travel.

FirstGroup has lured ­Kelly Kilner from Aberdeen agency Fifth Ring Corporate Communications to fill a newly created head of bus PR role.

She will start at FirstGroup in April and take charge of a regional management team that will handle PR for the group's 20 UK bus companies.

FirstGroup public affairs and comms director Paul Moore said the current public and political focus on environmental issues gave the firm a unique opportunity to press home the green benefits of bus travel.

‘People want to mitigate their environmental impact, and the bus industry should be showing people how to do that,' said Moore.

Londoners were used to bus travel he added, but the new team would be tasked with ‘broadening the appeal of buses' in the rest of the UK.

Suzy Aspley from Scottish Water's comms team will become bus PR manager for Scotland and former Orange community liaison officer Duncan McGraw will take charge of the Yorkshire region when they join next month. AXA UK media relations manager Andy Barr will cover Wales and the South West from May.

Kilner is not the only Fifth Ring staffer to join FirstGroup this year. Niall Dowds joined last month to fill a new group PR manager position.

Kilner, who is currently head of PR at Fifth Ring, ­declined to comment.

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