Page 5: Environmental and legal factors
Today the environment is perhaps the most important external influence on any transport service. There is overwhelming evidence that human activity is contributing to climate change. Government, consumers and businesses all want to see better environmental management. In 2007, First set out its Climate Change Strategy. The strategy sets targets to reduce CO2 emissions in the short and long term along with plans to achieve these targets.
The strategy identified some of the risks of climate change. These included the vulnerability of road and rail infrastructure to flooding and storm surges along the coast. It identified ways of managing these risks, for example, by working with transport network providers to monitor and maintain roads and rail. The strategy also identified opportunities. For example, First has set out ambitious targets of reducing its CO2 emissions from its bus and rail divisions by 25% and 20% respectively by 2020. This gives First a clear advantage over itscompetitors.
Many changes in the law stem from government policy. Many of these laws are Europe-wide, for example, the standards for bus transport emissions. First makes sure that all its buses meet these requirements. Legal changes that affect business are closely tied up with political ones. First has to anticipate and prepare to meet future legal changes. From 2010, as part of an initiative called Carbon Reduction Commitment, First and other companies will need to buy carbon credits. These credits will permit companies to generate specific quantities of carbon emissions. First is already preparing a budget to do this and is setting out clear plans for anticipating how much CO2 it will produce after 2010.