BARNET Council attracted some criticism at the East Barnet gas meeting last night but escaped the majority of residents' wrath.

The council had the role of ensuring vulnerable people were looked after when their gas supplies went down just before Christmas.

As the designated emergency planning authority for the area, it also oversaw the emergency response to the crisis.

Residents at the meeting in Victoria Road, New Barnet complained about the lack of information while others said council officers were not there for all elderly or vulnerable people affected.

“The first few days were spent in in fighting as far as anybody could see,” one resident said. “No effort was made by the council to go through the electoral register to identify elderly people.

“The information about getting ourselves a heater was done by word of mouth.

Another said: “The council's response is frankly a bit lame. They could have opened up a sports centre so that people could've showered and got clean. What about a little lateral thinking?”

Barnet Council's incident controller Val Lambe said officers had “interrogated” the adult social services, children's social services and even refuse databases to identify those noted down as “vulnerable”.

She said officers rang them all or if they had no numbers for them, the Red Cross visited their homes.

Councillors have set up a special scrutiny committee to examine the response to the problem and see if any lessons can be learnt.

It has not yet announced when the committee will meet.