Former Carillion boss accuses Brown's department of holding back environmentally-friendly procurement

Sir Neville Simms today launched an attack on the Treasury for failing to grasp the sustainable agenda by failing to allow Government departments to procure properly.

Simms, chairman of the Sustainable Procurement Task Force, a Government-appointed body that produced recommentations for efficient public spending last year, claimed Treasury rules did not take into account the whole-life costs of buildings.

"They say their (spending) rules allow sustainable procurement but no-one believes them," he said in a speech at the Sustainable Procurement Conference at the Institution of Civil engineers this morning. "The words are clear but the background music is not encouraging." For more on his speech click here.

He said the rules dictating public spending procluded against spending more upfront for greater efficiencies in the life cycle of a building. "The Government is tying one hand behind its own back. How can anyone establish the whole life value with a system like that?"

Simms cited an example of a public scheme where zonal heating was originally planned by the project team but to make revenues savings the client insisted on this being changed to single-zone central heating, which was cheaper in capital terms but less sustainable as the heating would remain on in parts of the building which were not in use.